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Alabama CattleWomen's Association

The History of the ACWA

The Alabama CowBelles Association, known today as the Alabama CattleWomen’s Association, has served as the auxiliary to the Alabama Cattlemen's Association since 1953. The Alabama CowBelles got their start when Mack Maples, ACA President, and E. Ham Wilson visited Kansas City, Missouri in January 1953 for the annual American National Cattlemen’s Association meeting. The previous year, the American National CowBelles, Inc. was formed at the annual meeting in Fort Worth, Texas. The new CowBelles impressed Maples and Wilson with their ideas for helping the cattlemen promote their industry.

A few weeks later at the annual Alabama Cattlemen's Association meeting, the suggestion was made to some of the wives of ACA leaders that an Alabama CowBelles Association be created. The women took hold of the idea and the next day several of them gathered to organize the Alabama CowBelles Association. Doris Maples was elected as the first president of the association, and in their first year only brought in 33 members. Nonetheless, the CowBelles set to work under the guiding words of their slogan, "To help the Cattlemen."

The purpose of the CowBelles is stated in their Articles of Incorporation:
The purposes of this non-profit corporation are to serve as the women’s auxiliary of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association and to conduct, and to participate in, activities which will assist the Alabama Cattlemen's Association in its endeavors to promote, develop, expand, and encourage the production of beef cattle in Alabama, as well as its efforts for the advancement and betterment of the interest and welfare of Alabama cattlemen and the cattle industry; to conduct and be responsible for the ladies’ business and social activities at its annual meeting and on other occasions; and to do and perform any and all acts necessary and suitable, and proper for the accomplishment of the purposes for which it is organized.”

Over the years the CowBelles have been one of the most important contributions to beef promotion in Alabama. In 1954 the CowBelles pitched in to help distribute “Eat More Beef” stickers, and in 1955 they began their own program which still continues today, “Beef for Father’s Day.” The next big idea from the CowBelles was the start of the “Beef Cookoff” in 1961.

The Alabama CowBelles changed their name to the Alabama CattleWomen’s Association in 1988. The ACWA has proven to be a great asset to the Alabama Cattlemen's Association and the beef industry as a whole.

2021 Officers
President: Laraine Morrison
President-Elect: Henrietta Gibson
Vice President: Shelby Windham
Secretary: Sheena Ledbetter
Treasurer & Parliamentarian: Lana Slaten
Historian and District 2 Director: Kayla Walker
Chaplain & Past President Adviser: Cindy Fitzpatrick
Ex Officio: Bea Jai Merriman
District 1 Director: Dixie Richter
District 3 Director: Holli Thompson
District 4 Director: Jillian Brooks

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