2021 BOTAR President – Julie Miller McCann
Julie Miller McCann is serving as this year’s BOTAR president. As excited as she is about the upcoming Ball, she treasures the memory of her time as a BOTAR and counts members of her BOTAR class among her dearest friends. “My BOTAR year was also the first year for The Concert for Champions. The Kansas City Youth Symphony played,” she recalled. It was a glamorous evening, bringing together three separate elements in Kemper Arena: the prancing horses, the talented musicians, and the festive atmosphere, with guests attired as though for a cocktail party or gala event.
For 72 years, The BOTAR Ball has been a part of the American Royal, which itself dates back to 1899. Families who have been part of the Ball often chose to continue that commitment for several generations. Julie noted that six BOTARs and one escort in the class of 2021 are the children of past BOTAR presidents. As much as she relishes this nod to tradition, Julie is delighted that each year BOTAR also welcomes new members, whose families “add a new energy and perspective.”
The evening of the Ball, a tremendous part of the pleasure is in the pageantry: the gowns, the fans, the waltz, and whatever new flourish may be unveiled. (We pressed for details, but Julie stayed mum. “I don’t want to spoil the surprise,” she said, although she added, “I think that every year the Ball reflects the style and personality of its president. I hope this year’s Ball does the same.” Now we’re envisioning something tasteful, yet energetic.)
The lasting impact of the Ball is in the funds it raises, which are earmarked for scholarships and educational programs. Young women interested in pursuing undergraduate degrees in agriculture would be well advised to research the BOTAR President’s Scholarship, which is given by BOTAR in partnership with another organization, Agriculture Future of America. The American Royal Vet Scholars program, which provides veterinary students with opportunities to work alongside seasoned practitioners, is also sponsored by BOTAR. For generations of young people in Our Town, field trips to the American Royal have been an autumn highlight. It’s still the same – but it’s different: last year, more than 9,000 students enjoyed them as virtual experiences.
What is it like to work with other BOTARs? The wisdom and “sense of etiquette and tradition” of the ladies who have mentored Julie have made a strong impression on her. In a more humorous vein, she noted, “Thank goodness for the younger BOTARs and their technology skills, it’s a game changer.”
The BOTAR Ball will be held on October 23rd at the Muehlebach Tower of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown.
Also featured in the September 18, 2021 issue of The Independent
By Heather Nicol Paxton
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