Polk County Cattlemen's Sweetheart
2012-2013 Harley Zoekler
Harley Zoeckler is the daughter of Karen Bowers and the granddaughter of Mack Padgett. Harley is 19 years old and was born and raised in Lake Wales. She is a graduate from Frostproof Middle/Senior High School where she was a National Honor Society member and graduated 13th in her class. Harley is a freshman this year at Warner University where she is majoring in Diversified Agriculture and minoring in Education. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in Agricultural Education.
In high school, Harley was an active FFA and Junior Cattlemen's member. Harley competed in many career development events such as public speaking, forestry evaluation, livestock evaluation and parliamentary procedures. She held many leadership positions within the FFA, as well, serving as President, Vice President, Secretary and Chaplain. She even had the honor of serving as the Polk County FFA Federation Vice President in 2010. This past year she was selected as a state FFA officer candidate for Area IV. When it came to the Junior Cattlemen's Association, Harley served as President for the Polk County Junior Cattlemen's three years in a row and served as Vice President, Treasurer, and Ex-Officio for the Florida Junior Cattlemen's. She competed in Team Marketing and Quiz Bowl at the Cattlemen's Convention in Marco and the National Public Speaking competition at NCBA, where she placed 5th in the nation. All throughout high school and middle school, Harley showed Brahma cattle, commercial cattle, market steers and market hogs. She used the money she made from her hog projects to invest in her cattle operation.
Harley is currently maintaining a small commercial cow/calf operation. Where she raises Brahma influenced cattle. Harley received the Star Chapter Farmer award her senior year of high school from her FFA chapter for her success with her cattle. She is a strong advocate for the industry. "Ranching is a Florida tradition, embedded deep in our history and heritage. And within my own family heritage cattle ranching has played such a heavy role in my upbringing. My papa is what I consider a true Florida Cow-man. My entire life has been filled with experiences through him….working cows on the weekends, riding through the pasture checking on pregnant heifers, and picking out that perfect show heifer, bred by my families herd.''
Harley quotes "I am so excited to get the chance to represent the industry in Polk County this year. As the Polk County Cattlemen's Sweetheart, I hope to share my passion for Florida's beef industry to Florida communities. With so many Americans disconnected to the world of production agriculture, my focus will be educating those who do not come from an agricultural background on the benefits of beef and the modern cattle industry. Through working with youth organizations, schools, consumer focus groups, local businesses, and grocery chains, I hope to use my skills to promote the healthy and nutrient-rich product that is beef. I hope that I will meet every expectation the cattlemen's has set for me, for I am extremely honored to have been chosen for this position. I am looking forward to working with the Cattlemen, Cattlewomen and Junior Cattlemen this year."
Shelby maintains her own small Maine Anjou cow/calf operation in North Lakeland. Shelby has served Polk County Future Farmers of America (FFA) for the last 7 years in a variety of Leadership roles including President of Lake Gibson Sr. FFA, President of the Polk County Federation, and Polk County FFA District 8, Sub-District 2 Chairman. Shelby is an active member of the Polk County Cattlewomen, Polk County Junior Cattlemen‘s Association, and the Florida Cattlemen’s Association.
Shelby received the Polk County Cattlewomen’s Premiere Exhibitor Award in 2010. Her experiences include significant and recognized accomplishments in showing cattle and representing the beef industry throughout the State of Florida for the past 10 years. Shelby is a huge advocate of Florida Agriculture and is a very passionate young lady about her cattle and showing cows.
When Shelby is not representing/educating consumers about the beef industry, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Second to Cattle, would be her love and passion of the Forestry Industry. Extra curricular activities include softball, volleyball, French Club, Lake Gibson High School Lionettes, fellowship of Christian Athletes, and a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Shelby quotes “I feel honored and extremely blessed to have been selected as the 2011-2012 Polk County Cattlemen’s Sweetheart. I would like to thank the many amazing role models I have within the Cattlewomen and Cattlemen’s Association of Polk County. My goal is to continue to educate consumers about the beef industry, the importance of beef by-products/red meat in our daily diet, the strong heritage of cattlemen and the care of our animals, and the importance of the beef industry. As much as strive to and I would love to win the FCA Sweetheart, the crown and title will not change who I am or my love of cattle and my ongoing desire to educate the public about the beef industry and the importance of Agriculture in our Country. Thank you for you’re never ending support, encouragement, and faith in me.”