This year the best show cattle from across North America will come to battle for one last time. The anticipation has been building since the Holstein Show at World Dairy Expo and news from all across the tanbark trail has been buzzing. The Living Legend Hailey has calved. This year’s Judge Michael Heath made her Grand Champion at World Dairy Expo 2012 for the first time, when she battled another legend Harvue Roy Frosty (Read more: World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A Battle for the Ages). How will the great animals owned by World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Judge Nathan Thomas do against some of the animals he made household names? Who has dropped off their top form and what animals are starting to peek at just the right time? These are just a few of the questions Michael Heath will have to answer this week at the 2015 Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show.
Michael grew up on his parents, Billy and Betty’s Spring Valley Farm in Maryland. After finishing college Michael’s passion for dairy cattle lead him to becoming a professional fitter for 14 years and the respected position he holds as a great cattleman and marketer. He has owned cattle from some of the top families in the breed. Most notable of these is co-ownership of the MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE family. Michael has judged many of the top state and provincial shows and highlights, including naming RF Goldwyn Hailey Grand Champion at the 2012 World Dairy Expo.
Growing up Michael’s father was a huge influence on him. Billy Heath was a noted cattle photographer and fitter and is the main reason Michael is in the dairy industry today. Billy’s passion for great cattle was passed on to Michael. Supporting Michael’s development over the years was also his grandfather and his uncles. A treasured moment for Michael happened earlier this year when his uncle Wayne Stiles served as his associate judge at the 2015 World Dairy Expo Jersey Show.
Michael “Air” Heath, has become one of the most prominent judges in the world today. He earned the nickname “Air” at the 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show when choosing his champions he seemed to channel his inner Michael Jordon and took flight. Then in 2013 he made headlines again, when with three simple words “Bing, Bang, Boom” he made history by choosing a clone of Apple Grand Champion, Apple herself as Reserve Grand and then making one of her daughters Honourable Mention Champion. (Read more: History Made at the 2013 International Red & White Show)
Serving as Michael’s associate will be Gus Schwartzbeck. Gus owns and operates Peace and Plenty Farms LLC. with his parents, Nona and Joe, and wife, Lisa. He has judged major Holstein shows in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio and Utah. Earlier this year he judged the Holsteins at the Western Spring National Show in Richmond, Utah. He also served as Justin Burdette’s Associate Judge at the 2013 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show. Judge Heath grew up only 10 miles away from Gus and credits him for being a big influence on him and especially with his understanding Holstein cows.
Michael Heath is so full of passion for great show cattle and the tanbark trail that it is speculated that he practices his reasons in the shower. I have had the opportunity to cover many shows judged by Michael and he is always coming up with new phrases that have helped make him a fan favourite. One thing will be for sure you better have your cows ready on the day, because we all know that Michael will be ready.
Contenders for Junior Champion
As we learned last year, it is not always beneficial for the World Dairy Expo Holstein Junior Champion to make the trip north, so I would not expect to see Golden Oaks Sid Charlise at this year’s Royal. This will mark the third time in the past four years that the Expo Junior Champion has not made the trip to Toronto. This should open the door for the Reserve Junior Champion from Expo, Stranshome Gold Annice, as well as the Honourable Mention Junior Champion, M-Riverview Goldsun Kelly.
Other heifers to watch for include the Champions from the recent Le Supreme Laitier show, Cerpolait Doorman Roselyne, Belfast Doorman Lovestruck and Eastside Double Caramel (Read more: Le Supreme Laitier 2015 Holstein Show).
Some X factor calves to watch for will be T-TRIPLE T ABSOLUTE ICON (Sr. Calf), BUCKS PRIDE PUMPKIN PIE (Summer Yearling) who could not show at Expo as they are owned in part by Expo Judge Nathan Thomas.
Another X factor heifer to watch for will be TRENT VALLEY GOLDCHIP ABRA, who is gaining a lot of momentum with her recent Junior Champion award at the 2015 Ontario Autumn Opportunity Show, and TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic.
Contenders for Intermediate Champion
Similar to the Junior Champion, the Intermediate Champion victory from Expo will be Jacobs Sid Beauty will not be back to her native soil to defend her title.
Those looking to take the reins include Expo Reserve Intermediate Champion, Bergeroy Sid Ambelle, who looked extremely impressive in her Intermediate Championship victory at last week’s Le Supreme Laitier 2015 Holstein Show. Honourable Mention Intermediate Champion from World, Knonaudale Mudpie, is looking to step up from her 2nd place finish at Expo in the Junior 3 Class.
Other also looking to take that spot including 2015 Autumn Opportunity Intermediate Champion KEYLAS SID ROXANNA as well as Honourable Mention Champion from Quebec MORSAN SID LOVELY 3.
A young cow that is generating a lot of buzz is COMESTAR LAMADONA DOORMAN, who has continued to develop since her fourth-place finish at Expo and recently was the 1st place Junior 2 Year old in Quebec.
With the top three Milking Yearlings from Expo probably not attending the Royal, that opens the door for the likes of Quebec Milking Yearling Champion, MS ABSOLUTE BLISS, who was not able to attend Expo as she is owned in part by the Expo Judge.
Looking to add a little colour to the show, don’t be surprised if the winning Milking Yearling from Quebec, MISSHOT MAMA-RED shows in the Black and White show. She looked so impressive at Le Supreme Laitier Red & White, show she went on to be named Reserve Grand Champion. (Read more: Le Supreme Laitier – Supreme Dairy Red & White Show 2015).
Contenders for Senior Champion
Ever since Expo when Lovhill Goldwyn Katrysha looked very impressive in her Supreme Champion victory, everyone has been looking forward to the head to head battle with the Living Legend, RF Goldwyn Hailey, who just calved during Expo.
While Hailey looked extremely impressive for a nine-year-old cow who has calved six times, at the Le Supreme Champion, it was MS GOLDWYN ALANA. Who similar to Spring Show, took home the Grand Champion Honours. (Read more: MS Goldwyn Alana takes Grand Champion Honors at Quebec Spring Holstein Show 2015).
With Expo Reserve Grand Champion, Jacobs Goldwyn Valana, now dry, other contenders include Expo Honourable Mention Champion, Brackley Farm Chelios Cheerio as well as her herd mates Charwill Attic Marcy, and may even Expo Red & White Grand Champion, Strans-Jen-D Tequila-Red. Tequila-Red like Misshot Mama-Red, may forgo trying to accomplish the Triple Grand Champion feat from World Dairy Expo and Show in the Black and White Show again this year, as she did last year. (Read more: Katrysha Named Supreme Champion of the 2015 World Dairy Expo).
A cow that gave Hailey a run for her money in the Production Cow class in Quebec, Loyalyn Goldwyn June, is certainly one that you should also keep your eyes out for. The Four and Five-year-old classes would seem to be a lock with Expo winners, JACOBS ATWOOD VEDETTE and CACHE-VALLEY LHEROS 2331 looking impressive by winning in Quebec as well.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
There will be drama, it will be amazing, and the 2015 Royal Winter Fair with Judge Michael Heath, will certainly be a must-see for all Tanbark enthusiasts around the world. Coverage begins at 8 am on November 12 with the Red & White Show followed by Holstein Junior Intermediate Calves, then 7:30 am on November 13 the for the balance of the junior show, milking females and groups. Be sure to watch http://www.thebullvine.com/royal15/ for this must see event.
Today is the last day to get your Fantasy Exhibitor entries in.