Team Member Spotlight

March 2024

Sharon Yates

Volunteering is one of Sharon’s favorite things about being on the Texas Beef Team. She’s no less than a pro at it, donating her time and talents to volunteer at approximately 40 sponsored and non-sponsored events in 2023 alone. 

“Healthy Kids Running Series being one of my favorite volunteer opportunities. I especially love seeing the two-to three-year-olds out running in this community event,” says Sharon, a labor and delivery nurse. “Inevitably, one of them always loses a shoe or falls down. There are always brief tears. But, to see their excitement for crossing the finish line and getting a medal is awesome.”

She also recalls other special moments that have come about during volunteer service.  One recent memory was sticking around to cover an extra volunteer shift, beyond her duties, at the Decker Challenge this winter. She and another Beef Team member stayed to cheer on every last runner through the back of the pack and it felt great to be an encouraging and positive part of another’s challenging experience. 

In the past, she’s even had the opportunity several times to volunteer at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and loves getting the chance to help the athletes and learn more about their inspirational backstories.

“At Kona, I’ve worked in the transition area, the finish line and bike catching,” Sharon elaborates. “My favorite is the bike catching, it goes along with my adrenaline junky side.”

Speaking of her adrenaline junky side, Sharon participated in cyclocross for two years, a cycling sport that can be best described as a cross between road cycling, mountain biking, and steeplechase. She describes it as “fun and terrifying” at the same time. Sharon also loves to travel and plan her trips to include running events and exciting adventures.  She ziplined at 2000-feet in Maui, took a helicopter ride in Kauai, and ran through the jungles of Antigua. 

“One of my favorite trips is a yearly run cruise where there are planned races at every port of call. I’ve done this trip for the last 11 years,” Sharon explains. “Through this cruise, I have seen places and met runners from around the world — experiences I would not have had as just a tourist.”

Sharon was 40 years old when she decided to start running. She credits Vito, her brother-in-law, for inspiring her and encouraging her every summer when she would see him on her family visits back home to Indiana.

“Vito is a paramedic and fireman, marathoner, triathlete, and dedicated athlete,” explains Sharon. He’s a hometown celebrity who was on all the big rescues and would always win the Indiana Fireman’s Challenge, an intense, multi-event physical test that replicates the various challenges of firefighting.  When he suffered a life-threatening traumatic brain injury, a local charity motorcycle ride chose him as the beneficiary. In an event that normally drew 200 participants, 800 showed up to support him. It was amazing to see, and I am so happy I got to be there. And thankfully, in a year’s time he recovered and was back to running and triathlons. So inspiring.”  

Sharon has also been inspired and motivated by a dear, longtime friend who was fighting for her life with cancer.  

“I entered a marathon and was able to raise money for her medical bills. My big goal was to finish in six hours — and I finished in 5:57:18!  The tears came when I stepped over the finish line and got that very meaningful medal.” 

More about Sharon, an amazing woman we are proud to have on the team:

Family: I have two sons. Torean is my oldest, he likes lifting weights. Conor is my younger son and he’s into skateboarding and graphic arts. Neither are runners, but show up to cheer me on and take pictures.

Beef at Home: Ground Beef and Tenderloin are two cuts we love and eat frequently at home. One of my favorite beef recipes is my Mom’s Chili. I make a huge pot and freeze it in small containers so we can enjoy it longer!

What I’ve Learned About Beef: Beef brings us together. We’ve made lots of memories cooking and eating the yearly roast we are gifted from the Texas Beef Team. The dry ice is fun, too! I also brought my son to a Grilling 101 last year, and we learned a lot together.

Beef Team Love: The Texas Beef Team is just so amazing; I have been treated wonderfully since joining in 2015. The staff is great at keeping me motivated with all the different activities, the information that is provided is on the mark. My niece and her husband have been cattle ranchers in the Panhandle for years and when I talk about the team and the information provided, it’s correct.

What I Eat Before a Race: Right now, I am only running 5ks. My routine is a protein shake an hour before, with electrolyte drink with gels prior to run. Afterward, I treat myself with a Diet Dr. Pepper.

My Mantra: My mantra came to me when I ran a half marathon in Kauai. I had been wanting to do this race for years, but was concerned about the cut off time at 7 miles – I was worried that I wouldn’t get to wear my race shirt (Vito!) and would have to ride the bus to the finish line. I made it, but at 10 miles, I was behind on fluids and it was very hot. At mile 11, I started with the typical “go get ‘em” stuff, but it wasn’t’ working. Finally, around mile 12, I just told myself, “No one’s going to pick my sorry butt off the side of the road, so just keep going.” I made it to the finish, I got my medal, and I got to wear the shirt – and the mantra has stuck!

Best Running Advice: A six-minute mile and a 12-minute mile is the same distance.”

Favorite Running Shoe: Brooks Ghost

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