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Beefing Up The Ball Games

img_7770.JPGIt’s been a busy summer of beef promotions for the members of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Auxiliary (SDCA). As an SDCA member, I really enjoyed our latest promotion, “Beefing up the ball games,” at the South Dakota State Amateur Baseball Tournament, held in Mitchell over the weekend. Joining me at the event was my little sister, Kaley Nolz, the 2011 National and South Dakota Junior Beef Ambassador. Together, we worked with other South Dakota beef producers to share positive messages with the athletes and fans.

img_7768.JPGOne of the volunteers, Delina Nagel from Springfield, SD, put it well: “As ranchers, beef promotion is so important to help boost beef demand and spread the good word about cattle ranching. It’s critical for us to invest checkoff dollars to work with the public, and with fewer dollars available today, it’s important we get the best bang for our buck. Reaching out to athletes is just one demographic that we focus on. Families, race fans, students, doctors and nutritionists also need to hear these messages about healthy beef.”

Producer checkoff dollars were used at this event to reach out to health-conscious athletes and families, where we shared information on the 29 lean cuts of beef and the many ways beef can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. On behalf of South Dakota beef producers, the SDCA gave away $1,500 in Beef Bucks to be used to purchase burgers at the ball games or any location beef is sold. A baseball pinball game taught kids in attendance about beef by-products, and the young people could win beef player trading cards for playing the game. Beef jerky sticks were also passed out at the games. In addition, free baseballs were given away to the first 125 kids who arrived at the games. Kids were taught that 144 baseballs or 12 baseball gloves could be made from a single cowhide. At the candy toss, kids learned that gelatin from connective tissues in cattle are used to make candy. Finally, a beef cookbook was given away for each run scored throughout the day. The book includes 200 pages of recipes, nutrition information and preparation tips. The promotion was well thought out and resonated with kids and adults, alike.

“This is a great promotion for us,” says Jim Johnson, a Mitchell native who helps coordinate the state tournament. “Working with the auxiliary helps us to sell programs, burgers at the games and boosts attendance, as well. In turn, we work to help promote the beef producers throughout the tournament. The kids love the candy and the games, and the parents love the free burgers and recipe books. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

The tournament lasts from Aug. 3-14, but it’s the beef day at the ball games event that packed the largest crowd the past two years. Promotions like these have a lasting impact on how consumers view beef products, and SDCA is continuing the tradition of spreading the good news through their fun summer promotions.

Do you think athletes are a good demographic on which to focus our beef promotions? How do you think we can continue to spread the good word about beef as a healthy part of a well-balanced diet? Share your ideas with us today!