Dairy Judging Team Update

Ms. Bonnie Ayars, Dairy Program Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

On a very cold and early morning in January, dairy judging hopefuls made their way to Fort Worth, Texas to compete in the Stock Show Dairy Judging Contest.  After many delays, they arrived only to be surprised by even colder temperatures. For many, it was their first time visit to Texas where the highways are stacked one on top of the other and the lone star state offers quite a cultural experience.

That first day allowed very little time for rest, but we did walk the streets of old Fort Worth and watched the longhorns being herded, as well as our evaluation of their appearance, care, and handling.  Admittedly, we felt out of place without fancy boots and big hats.  From there, we ate at the old and rather famed Joe T. Garcias authentic Mexican restaurant.  Then onto the “Cowboy Ranch” rodeo night, which was entertaining enough to keep everyone awake and involved in the atmosphere and pageantry.

Our first morning included a farm visit and two excellent classes of Brown Swiss cows at Sandy Creek Farm.  They also sell raw milk and a wide variety of dairy products. Actually, we judged and listened to quite an interesting perspective on the dairy business, Texas style. The rest of day included reasons, more touring, and preparation for the contest.

Contest day followed the next morning and the temperature was at -2 degrees as the first class paraded into the ring.  At least, our reasons were given in a warmer location.  Then the recognition banquet followed with the forecast of snow and wet and freezing rain.  Despite Mother Nature’s attitude, we had a presence with our 2nd place win in the Jersey breed, 5th in Holstein, 4th in reasons, and 5th team overall.

The five students and their coach attending at pictured below (left to right); Bonnie Ayars (coach), Cole Pond, Lindsay Davis, Rachel Sherman (10th high individual), Grant DeBruin (11th high individual), and Brady McCumons. For each, there were moments of excitement and then the heavy sigh at the Brown Swiss cow class.

Their adventure continued the next day as we watched some of the dairy shows before heading to the airport with more delays and a return home at 4:00 am the following morning. Travel in the winter is an enigma, but these warriors braved it for the sake of another contest and another time to judge cattle.