While some years many of the top cattle from the US did not make the trip to Toronto, this year should be different. With NAILE Holstein show declining in interest and recognition, many of the exhibitors who usually go to Louisville are opting to make the trip north. Moreover, while the 2016 World Dairy Expo Grand Champion will not be making the trip all other top contenders from Expo except those either owned or bred by this year’s judge should be expected to attend. It is certainly going to make for a great show with even more debate. To preview all the action read on.
The big news at The Royal this year is the new Ring of Excellence. Earlier this year, The Royal announced that they were expanding, relocating and upgrading the existing Ring of Excellence to improve the experience for both exhibitors and visitors at the show. Judging from what my I saw during the 2016 Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic is has achieved just that. The ring of Excellence that will hold the colored breed shows and will also hold the first two classes of the Holsteins show has been redesigned. The
old ring had a big column in the middle of it which blocked the view. Where the animals came into the ring from the barn was also a real chokepoint for the public wanting to get through from the barns to other exhibits. All that has been changed and improved so that it is 25% larger ring, with 50% more seating, with better lights and greater flow in and out of the ring. While it may not be large enough yet to hold all the Holstein show classes things are certainly improving.
The Official Judge for this year’s National Holstein Show will be none other than Marc Comtois the famed breeder and expert marketer behind Comestar Holsteins from Victoriaville, Quebec. A two-time Master Breeder winner, Comtois is one of the most respected Holstein breeders in the world, having bred and developed the legendary Comestar Laurie Sheik-ET and her family. Marc and his family have also garnered many awards in the show ring including, were Premier Breeder at The Royal in 2007 and have earned 67 All-Canadian nominations resulting in 10 All-Canadian, 10 Reserve, and 14 Honorable Mention awards. Comtois has judged cattle in some 20 different countries during his career. I can still remember the last time Marc judged the Royal back in 1999. That was the battle between two greats Acme Star Lilly and Rainyridge Tony Beauty. I had been assisting the western crew that had been preparing and caring for both these animals, and you could cut the tension with a knife all week as both cows rounded into form. There were many debates which cow would win and even some drama after their class but Marc ultimately choosing Lilly as his Grand Champion.
The Associate Holstein Judge this year will be Carl Saucier. Carl was a long Progeny Analyst at CIAQ, and that role has now transitioned over to Semex. Carl is well known the world over for his ability to take photos that capture many of the great moments in the show ring as well as natural photographs of the cows in their working clothes that help breeders the world over appreciate the animals. Carl has worked for such noted Holstein breeders as Deslacs, Romandale, and Hanover Hill. Carl and his wife Leonie make their home in Champlain, Quebec.
Heifer Show Highlights
For the past two years, the Junior Champion from World Dairy Expo has not done the trip North. This year the Junior Champion Duhibou Fever Piranha will take the trip north as she sells in the Sale of Stars the night before the sale.
Also, watch for the Reserve Junior Champion from EXPO, Cobequid Windbrook Pirouett to be there as 2016 marks the return of Westcoast Holsteins exhibiting at the Royal.
Rounding out the Junior Champions from Expo, watch for Smithden Hilton Izzy, the HM Junior Champion from this year’s show.
Others to watch for include the recent champions from the Ontario Autumn Opportunity show, Quality Solomon Lust, Vogue Octane Sunstruck and Corrcroft Doorman Chita.
Also keep an eye out for the Junior Champion for Quebec, Milksource Sid Desire and the HM Champion, Jacobs Mascalese Balzi. The Reserve Reserve Junior Champion was Comestar Holiday Goldwyn, will not be in the show as she was bred and expertly shown by this year’s judge.
Intermediate Show Highlights
While predicting who will win the Milking Yearling and Junior Two Year old Classes can be extremely hard, something the competitors in the incredibly popular Fantasy Exhibitor Contest have learned. This year’s Milking Yearling class may be a little easier as the WDE winner; HIGH POINT GRAY IVORY looked extremely impressive in her win last week at Le Supreme Laitier.
In the Junior Two-Year-old class is setting up to be fascinating. WDE winner Trefle Chassep Doorman will again do battle with Idee Windbrook Lynzi who has improved significantly since her 2nd place finish at Expo and took home first place last week at Le Supreme Laitier. But there is always the X factor when dealing with these young cow classes and there is always the chance the winner may be a cow that comes from totally off the radar.
With Budjon making the trip North this year rather than heading to NAILE, the extremely impressive winner from WDE of the Senior Two-Year-Old Class & Intermediate Champion, Lingle Gold Freaky Girl will be at the Royal. But don’t concede the victory to Freaky Girl just yet as 2nd from Expo and HM Intermediate Champion, Lindenright Gold Anebel should also make some noise. Not to forget the 3rd place animal from Expo, Leachland Atwood Megabyte who probably has the shortest trip to make it to the Royal (33km from her home at Quality Holsteins).
For sure there will be a new winner in the Junior Three-Year-Old Class. Not only because Judge Comtois bred and owned the Expo winner, but also because Jacobs Gold Liann looks insane. She was easily the best cow not at World Dairy Expo because Yvon Jacobs was the associate judge. Liann has backed this statement we made months ago with her victories at the Big E and most recently taking home Grand Champion at Le Supreme Laitier. Others to watch for include Walkerbrae Doorman Locket who gave Le Supreme Laitier Yvon Chabot a lot to think about when comparing these two cows from the rear. As watch for Loyalyn Duplex Vanessa as she has logged many miles recently and looked impressive each time I have seen her.
Like the Senior Two-Year-olds, expect the Senior Three-Year-Olds to feature a rematch of the top two animals from World Dairy Expo. Winterbay Dude Guinness bested Jacobs Jordan Carmel at Expo, but Carmel is coming off a big win at Le Supreme Laitier and is out for revenge. Not to be forgotten in this battle is Beaverbrock Goldwyn Zoey who looked insanely good at Wisconsin Championship show earlier this year and is looking to regain her form and winning ways.
Senior Show Highlights
While many are already conceding the victory to Expo Reserve Grand Champion Wendon Dempsey Prude, I am not sure I am ready to give her the win in the four-year-old class just yet. Sure, she looked extremely impressive at Expo for how fresh she was, and I expect that she will look even more impressive with a little more time, Bosedale Gold Lustre might have something to say about this, as she is still undefeated in milking form. Talk about a battle of two extreme cows. Both will wow you when you first see them, and Judge Comtois is going to have his hands full. And of course, if either of both these cows should falter watch out for TK-Plain View Ripley as her incredible udder could put a wrinkle in this equation.
Never in history can I remember a group of cows that have seen so many differently placings as they have matured than the current group of five-year-olds. Among them, there is a Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion and two HM Grand Champions at World Dairy Expo. On any day, these top cows seem to be able to be placed in many different arrangements. The easy thing to say is that top animals should include, the two great cows bred by Weeksdale, Weeksdale Judges Harmony & Weeks Dundee Anika as well as Brackleyfarm Chelios Cheerio, Rosiers Blexy Goldwyn, Petitclerc Sid Sunkiss and Charwill Attic Marcy.
Unfortunately, this year’s Grand Champion from World Dairy Expo, Sheeknoll Durham Arrow, will not be making the trip North. (Read more: The Amazing Story behind 2016 World Dairy Expo Grand Champion “Thomas”) But that does not mean there will not be excitement in the Mature Cow Class. 2015 World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion, Lovhill Goldwyn Katrysha, will be looking to prove that she can deliver north of the border. And of course, there is the hugely popular Butz-Butler Gold Barbara that may just fit judge Comtois fancy and regain her winning ways. An X factor in this class may be the 2nd place from Expo, TC Sanchez Kristina.
If the Junior Three cow class has a for sure winner, then so does the production cow class with Layalyn Goldwyn June. Last year, I thought June looked the best she had ever seen a cow look in the show ring, and for me she would have been an easy Grand Champion. While she is still on the same lactation and showing some of the signs of later lactation, she should still dominate this class. Others to watch for include Milksource Goldwyn Africa and Jacobs Minister Aima. Also of note is the fact that the top 4 animals from Expo in this class are not expected to make the trip to the Royal.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
Unlike some years where there are expected winners in nearly every class, this year except for maybe two classes there are no real “guaranteed” winners. In years like this it is great to have a Judge like Marc Comtois who will certainly have the experience and confidence to place the animals how they look that day and leave all the other stuff outside the ring.