Over 75 Iowa beef industry volunteers greeted thousands of runners with hot beef stew after finishing the 35th annual Living History Farms Off-Road Race on November 23. Runners from across the country endured the single digit weather to run the 7-mile race on the museum's grounds in Urbandale.
"This year, more than 20 Team Beef runners sported shirts with the message 'Beef. Fuel for the Finish,'" says Nancy Degner, Executive Director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. "TEAM BEEF is composed of Iowa State University faculty and students with majors in animal science, as well as other cattle farmers and friends of the beef industry who are passionate about beef."
"I am proud to wear the TEAM BEEF shirt and hear all the support along the race from runners and by-standers who shouted 'Go Beef' and 'Where's the Beef?'" says Clarinda cattleman Seth Watkins. "We answered 'at the end of the race in the beef stew!' I was proud to have cattle farmers serving the beef stew at the end of the race."
Beef a source of high-quality protein
According to Degner, the beef checkoff became involved to carry a message to the athletes. "Our message to the runners was two-fold," she says. "First, that beef provides high-quality protein needed to build, maintain and repair muscle, and is a great recovery food after endurance exercise. Second, we wanted to give runners the chance to meet local cattle farmers as they served the beef stew."
Volunteers served hot beef stew to frozen runners after a route complete with several creek crossings and other wet and muddy obstacles. The beef checkoff provided the 2,000 pounds of beef cubes used in the stew prepared by the Iowa Machine Shed restaurant. Serving was completed in less than two hours by volunteers including cattle producer families, ISU animal science students, 4-H-ers, Madison County Youth Beef Team members, and friends of the beef industry. Beef certificates were awarded as prizes for the race, replacing the traditional frozen turkeys and chickens.
Those interested in joining or learning more about TEAM BEEF can visit the Iowa Beef Industry Council website or by calling 515-296-2305.
About the Iowa Beef Industry Council
The Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff. Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand. More information is available at the Iowa Beef Industry Council website.