This week there is a great dairy event going on in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. It is the 50th All-American Dairy Show and I find myself wondering whether it is worth going or not?
When I am deciding if it is worth going to the show, I first look at what cattle are going to be there. There have been times I have driven 10 hours just to go to a small show because I knew that show would have some great cattle. There are other times that I have not gone to a show that was under an hour’s drive away.
This week in Harrisburg there will be five breed shows as well as junior shows and showmanship classes. It will be a great event to get to see many breeders. But for me it’s not the numbers it’s the quality. And while the All-American Show carries a title that would have you think that it is fully representative of cattle across the US, unfortunately due to it’s location and timing, less than a month from World Dairy Expo, many breeders have to choose between the two shows, and except for Jersey’s many of the other breed shows are missing the headliners that will go on to be All-American.
In talking with the owners and cattlemen responsible for looking after the headliners for World Dairy Expo, they all admit that they would love to go to the show this week. It’s a great show that the Pennsylvania department of agriculture does a great job supporting. However, there comes a point that you just cannot take these great cows to many more shows. By the time you hit the county, state and spring shows you have already put a fair bit of strain on these animals. To add another whole show, that for most requires a long ride, may be too much for these cows that still need to look their best less than a month later at World Dairy Expo. Though if you happen to be judging at World Dairy Expo and have an All-American nomination level animal, this show becomes very important.
Having said that, there is one headliner that I know is going to the show, Butz-Butler Gold Barbara EX-92. Gold Barbara, the unanimous All-American and All-Canadian in 2013, has calved again and is now owned by Kueffner Holsteins, St. Jacobs, Dr. Matt Iager and River Valley Dairy. (Read more: Sold- All-Canadian & Unanimous All-American Senior 2 year old from 2012 to Keuffner, St. Jacobs, Dr. Matt Iager and River Valley) Here is a cow that from reports I have heard since she calved may be worth the trip in her own right.
In this digital age, it’s amazing the coverage we get on all events. With many publications desperate for content, the All-American show is a great opportunity to cover all audiences. With all the major breeders and juniors there, there is certainly a strong readership among seed stock producers who would be interested in the results.
Even the show itself does a great job of covering the show. There have been 24 press releases put out by the Pennsylvania department of agriculture since the last show. In addition, they also offer a webcast of the show starting tomorrow. Certainly great additional coverage for those that are not able to make the drive. I do think these digital mediums affect the attendance at the shows, but they also increase the overall reach of the events, by reaching out to the whole world. (Read more: Who is going to the show? Why attendance is down at the dairy cattle shows).
The Bullvine Bottom Line
It truly is a perplexing decision. I am sure there will many great breeders to chat with, and, with Barbara and the many other cattle that will be there. There will undoubtedly be some great cattle to see. However, with many of the headliners not there and such a long drive, it has us thinking about not attending…Stay tuned for our final decision.