A recent graduate of Shepherd University, Ashley Wiles of Smithsburg, Maryland, ends her junior career in the Limousin community after spending half a decade traveling the country and attending regional and national shows.
It isn’t too often you see representatives of the East Coast making a big splash at national events, but Wiles says she was proud to represent her state while creating lifelong memories within the Limousin community all across the country.
“I have loved every single year that I’ve attended the junior nationals and the junior shows for the Limousin association,” she shares.
Wiles began her show career originally with Shorthorns but made the jump to Limousin and Lim-Flex about five years ago. Many of her heifers over the years were purchased from Thomas and Son Farms in Boonsboro, Maryland.
Her resume includes showing at the National Junior Limousin Show & Congress (NJLSC), the Eastern Regional Junior Limousin Show, the Virginia Club Calf Producers Winter Classic and her local Washington County Ag Expo and Fair.
In 2020, Wiles was among two winners to receive the North American Limousin Junior Association’s Award of Excellence Scholarship at the NJLSC. That year was an especially meaningful one for her. She and her fellow Marylander, Karly Payne of Boonsboro, were both selected to compete for the coveted title of Champion Senior Showman at the NJLSC in Louisiana. Afterward, Wiles returned to the June Eastern Regional to be both the 2021 and 2022 champion senior showman.
“It was really unexpected,” she says, “especially with Maryland not being the biggest state.”
But she continues that her all-time memory happened earlier this year in Texas at the 2022 NJLSC when her state team won the fitting contest.
“We didn’t even expect to make it out of our heat. You can say winning wasn’t really on our minds when we began this competition, but it was definitely one of the times that Maryland worked together and made it really fun.”
This year her laurels included earning the Division V Champion title with TASF Jupiter 480J at the Eastern Junior Regional Limousin Show in Gray, Tennessee.
“Jupiter” was also third overall in her division at the NJLSC in Amarillo this past June. Wiles also bred the Division VI Champion in the NJLSC Owned Lim-Flex heifer – TASF GVAF Hina – who was shown by Carter Kornegay. (“Hina” was sold at the 2020 Conley Cattle Sale in Oklahoma by Wiles.)
Previously she exhibited the Virginia Club Calf Producers Reserve Limousin Heifer at the club’s 2019 Winter Classic. That same year she was her home county of Washington’s Champion of Champion Showman and exhibited the champion heifer and champion steer topping off her 4-H career.
Even with a glistening career, Wiles notes that there have been some hardships along the way. Something that has been a particular challenge is her father, a crop insurance agent in their area, not being able to join her travels during the show season. However, she says that she has had some great support from the show teams she traveled with including the Thomas, Crawford and Payne families.
“They could watch over and take care of me when my dad couldn’t be there,” she says. “Some of the trips were over 20 plus hours. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
This type of comradery was a continued theme throughout her time spent in the show barns where she was pushed outside her comfort zone to interact with other showmen around the state.
“It’s definitely prepared me to be able to go and talk to anybody that I come across,” she continues. “The Limousin breed is honestly the most welcoming breed I think I’ve ever been in. Doing the events and going to these shows has really helped me grow as a person.”
Today, Wiles works for Farm Credit now with her double major in business administration and economics. She says her role fulfills her desire to give back to the agriculture community – and what better way to do that than to fund people’s passions?
“No one really prepares you for how fast these 10 years go,” she tells young showmen. “Soak it all in and try to be in as many events as you can. If you don’t have the best hat for that year, just go and enjoy the time. Because it really was the highlight of my summer.”
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