News Voice of Beef Show Hangs up Microphone after Three Decades

Voice of Beef Show Hangs up Microphone after Three Decades

Voice of Beef Show Hangs up Microphone after Three Decades
April 19, 2024 |

By Maggie Edwards
(334) 613-4198

After more than three decades emceeing the state beef cattle show, Galen Grace hung up his microphone following the Alabama Farmers Federation Jr. Livestock Expo (JLE) this spring. 

It’s bittersweet, said Grace.

“Since I decided to step away from announcing, I’ve been trying to explain it without getting emotional,” he said. “This has kept me young. I knew I could never repay the people who helped me along the way, so volunteering at livestock shows was my way of giving back.”

Grace arrived at every cattle show with three iconic items: his trusty Auburn University (AU) stool, AU mug and a passion for youth education. His voice is a symbol of JLE, said the Federation’s Colton Christjohn. 

“He’s more than a man with a mic,” said Christjohn, who directs JLE. “Galen is an encourager to every exhibitor who steps into the ring. His investment to Alabama youth and agriculture is immeasurable.” 

Grace’s journey culminated March 16 in the Ed Teague Arena. The room roared with applause as Grace humbly tipped his hat to the crowd in thanks. 

Retirement allows Grace to step into more leadership roles with the Southeastern Livestock Exposition (SLE). He’s currently vice president of the Montgomery-based rodeo.

Grace was 10 when SLE began in 1958. Since then, he’s missed just four years of “the greatest show on dirt.”

“I started working the ring in the mid ‘80s. Before that, I showed steers at this same show,” said the 75-year-old, who’s known for his gracious attitude and ready smile. “One day, the announcer didn’t show up, and I got tapped for the job. I’ve seen a lot of exhibitors come through shows whose kids are now showing.”

Grace was raised on a farm in Walker County, where his childhood was filled with hard work alongside brothers Dorman and Jerry. 

“My life was always devoted to farming or rodeoing,” Grace said. “Over the years, I have tried to stay involved with livestock and animal health the best I could.”

That involvement included time dedicated to the poultry industry, agricultural sales, 4-H, SLE and JLE.

“I’ve enjoyed watching young people grow up,” Grace said. “Helping them learn and build their futures has meant so much to me.” 

Grace credits his wife, Becky, and their two sons for encouraging him along the journey. 

“I couldn’t have done this without my family’s support,” Grace said. 

Federation President Jimmy Parnell has known Grace for decades. Parnell’s children, James Robert and Anna Grace, exhibited cattle at the state show, where Grace’s steady baritone kept the show moving.

“Galen Grace is a good man,” Parnell said. “That’s important for kids and parents to see. The amount of time he’s spent encouraging youth is incredible. We’re grateful for his service and commitment to the livestock industry.” 

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