The title of 2007 National Beef Ambassador went to Matthew Peebles of Silver Springs, Fla., in the annual competition last week.
Twenty contestants from throughout the country vied for the national title and $5,000 in cash prizes. Peebles received $2,500 cash and a $1,000 college scholarship. Second place went to Amanda Rankin, Caliente, Calif., who received $1,200 and a $750 scholarship. Third-place winner JoAnna Strom, Beresford, SD, received $800 and a $500 scholarship. Christie Molinaro, Pennsylvania, and Londa Johnson, Minnesota, received $250 each as honorable-mention awards.
Tyson Foods sponsored $5,000 in cash prizes and the American National CattleWomen Foundation gave $2,250 in scholarships. ANCW established the competition on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and state beef councils, originally conceiving the National Beef Ambassador Program in 1988.
Peebles is a member of FFA, and the Junior Florida Cattlemen’s Association. He enjoys promoting the beef industry, raising cattle and team roping. Peebles career plans are to become a veterinarian.
The contestants each presented a speech about promotional aspects of beef and completed interviews with media and beef-industry representatives. Trained youth ambassadors address industry issues and misconceptions, while they help educate peers, consumers and producers about food safety, nutrition and the beef checkoff program.