World Dairy Expo

World Dairy Expo Logo

October 3-5th Dad, Addison and I took a road trip to World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. Now, for those of you who aren’t farm people, World Dairy Expo is pretty much the cow equivalent to the Super Bowl. One has only to say “Expo” and everyone knows what you’re talking about. The “colored shavings” are as familiar to cattle show-men as the Indianapolis Speedway is to race car drivers. This year, “1,616 owners exhibited 2,225 head of cattle from 36 states and 6 provinces”.

There are 7 shows, one for each breed of dairy cattle. When a cow is exhibited in a show she is groomed to look her very best and then competes against all the other animals in her age class. The judge ranks the cows based on their physical appearance, called their “conformation”.

It was so exciting just watching the shows at Expo, but we actually went for more than just sight seeing. Our calf, Price-View Reginald Prize (“Regi” for short), was entered in the Fall Calf class and we were there to watch her show.

Price-View Reginald Prize, "Regi"
Regi

It’s kind of confusing to explain how the show works, but let’s use Regi as an example. She is from the Holstein breed and was born on September 2, 2012, which puts her in the Holstein Fall Calf class (all the animals born between 9/1/2012-11/30/2012). In order to advance beyond that class she would have to get either 1st or 2nd in her class of 48 other calves. Then she would compete against the 1st and 2nd place winners from the 6 other Holstein calf classes. From these 14 animals the judge picks the one he believes to be the best (Junior Champion), 2nd best (Reserve Junior Champion), and 3rd best (Junior Honorable Mention).

The Holstein Junior Champion and Reserve Junior Champion show against the Intermediate Champion (best milking cow not older than 3 years old), Reserve Intermediate Champion (2nd best milking cow not older than 3 years), Senior Champion (best milking cow over 3 years), and Reserve Senior Champion (2nd best milking cow over 3 years). From these animals the judge selects the overall Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion and Honorable Mention, which would equate to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best cows of the entire Holstein breed at the show.

At the end of Expo the Grand and Reserve Champions of each breed face off for the ultimate title in the dairy world: Supreme Champion of World Dairy ExpoThis year’s Supreme Champion winner was the Grand Champion Holstein cow, Bonaccuiel Maya Goldwyn.

the judge slaps Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn on the rump to choose her as the 2013 Grand Champion Holstein (photo Hoard's Dairyman)
The judge slaps Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn on the rump to choose her as the 2013 Grand Champion Holstein (photo Hoard’s Dairyman)

My dad’s all-time favorite Expo winner is Brookview Tony Charity, who earned the title of Supreme Champion 4 times! (1982, 1984, 1985 & 1987)

Brookview Tony Charity, 4 time Supreme Champion winner at World Dairy Expo
Brookview Tony Charity, 4 time Supreme Champion winner at World Dairy Expo

Although Regi didn’t advance beyond her age class, it was still a great experience, and being the 28th best fall calf in the world isn’t that bad either!

Regi's class of 48 heifers
Regi’s class of 48 heifers

We were also able to watch the selection of the Red & White Holstein Grand Champion which was really neat! The judge walked up to the line of cows. Pointing at the first 3 he said, “Bing, bang, boom!” and chose 3 cows that were all related! KHW Regiment Apple-Red was Reserve Grand Champion and her own clone, KHW Regiment Apple-3, ended up beating her for Grand Champion! For Honorable Mention the original Apple’s daughter was selected, Ms Candy Apple-Red.

The "Apple Trifecta" as it's being called
The “Apple Trifecta” as it’s being called (Photo from Dairy Agenda Today)
Our view of grand champion selection
Our view of Red & White grand champion selection

Not only did we see some exciting shows at Expo, but we also walked around the massive trade show. They had booths selling anything from tractors, to milking parlors, to paintings of cows. I ended up making a purchase that hopefully I’ll be able to use on my calves this winter…

A pink Udder Tech calf blanket!
A pink Udder Tech calf blanket!

Friday evening they set up a big auction ring right in the center of the show ring for the World Classic Sale, to sell offspring from the elite of the Holstein breed. The beginning of the sale was like the start of a concert! When the first cow walked in the ring the lights were dimmed and a spot-light shone on her as Katy Perry’s song, Roar, played. It was really great to be there as these awesome cows sold. One we were able to see was the best genetic Red and White Holstein in the world!

Oconnors Aikman Scarlet, the best genetic Red & White Holstein in the world
Oconnors Aikman Scarlet, the best genetic Red & White Holstein in the world

It was a great trip to Expo, and I hope to be able to go again in the future!

-The Farming Daughter

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The Erie County Fair

We’ve been exhibiting animals at the Erie County Fair my entire life. In fact, Dad has shown cows there every year since 1975! Since I bring my goats, pigs and cows I literally live at the fair for the entire 10 days. It’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work. At 5am I have to get up and milk the cows, then clean out their beds, give each one of them a bath, feed them and sweep up. Then I have to head over to the goat and pig barn and do all the same things for them, and that’s just the morning chores! Thankfully my dad, Addie and Marcus all show animals as well. We all work together to get the jobs done. By the end of the fair you’re definitely tired! (that’s the understatement of the century 🙂 ) Here are some pictures we took during the fair!

Here’s a pic of our “show string” as it’s called. In other words, our cows relaxing on their specially tended beds. My dad may never make his own bed, but he takes very particular care that the cow beds are made perfect.

our cows relaxing on their bed
our cows relaxing on their bed
Marcus and his calf Advent
Marcus and his calf Advent
Addie's sweet calf Beatrice
Addie’s sweet calf Beatrice
Ruby and me
Ruby and me
Westley loves helping with the goats
Westley loves helping with the goats
waiting to show my goat
waiting to show my goat
(photo courtesy Erie County Fair)
Ada and me in the ring
Ada and me in the ring
tired and dirty, but happy
tired and dirty, but happy
(photo courtesy Erie County Fair)
the monarch butterfly tent was really neat!
the monarch butterfly tent was really neat!
Cool! Marcus got two at once!
Cool! Marcus got two at once!
two stunning butterflies
two stunning butterflies

My favorite part of the whole fair was definitely winning Jersey Grand Champion with my cow Annabelle!! I never in a million years thought I would! For those of you who don’t know much about showing cows, Grand Champion means your cow was the best one at the fair out of their breed (in my case the Jersey breed).

Annabelle Grand Champion!
Annabelle Grand Champion!