Brian Carscadden grew up on a dairy farm in eastern Ontario. Between the ages of nine and eleven he started down the path that would eventually lead him to a dream come true – Judging the Holstein Show at the Royal Winter Fair.  He recalls. “I was nine or ten and I remember distinctly going with our neighbour Jack James, a sheep farmer, to Ormstown Fair.  I watched the cattle show for a while and I was mesmerized by the judging process.”


Brian defines the three steps that it takes to fulfill a dream such as his.  “You start out with a dream about going to the Royal.  Then comes the dream about showing at the Royal. Then you dream of owning an animal that show at the Royal.  The next step is the dream to be the judge at the Royal.  That is the hardest to acquire.”

For Brian the dream started young.  “When I was eleven I had never been to the Royal.  My dad and grandfather came back that year and talked about it and I said to myself, ‘You know what? I want to go that show!’ The third step was the real beginning. “The next year I went to the Royal and I’ve been there every year since!”  And so it is that Brian fulfilled his childhood dream. “Every young Canadian Holstein enthusiast dreams of that. I started at lower level shows and worked my way up to the big shows to where the Royal was the only big show I hadn’t judged.” In 2011 he was the Royal Holstein Judge. “There’s very few that actually get the opportunity to follow through! The whole experience was very emotional for me.”

Brian congratulating 2012 Grand Champion Eastside Lewisdale Goldwyn Missy

Brian congratulating 2011 Grand Champion Eastside Lewisdale Goldwyn Missy


You know that a lifelong dream doesn’t happen just by luck.  Brian was focused on the goal and had a plan for how to make it come true. He advises judges who aspire to the Royal or Madison to be prepared. In Brian’s case, “Prior to Madison I watched videos from the past twenty years to give myself familiarity with the Show.  I saw different ways of doing things because I felt I needed to be aware of them.  Even terminologies that other judges used were an interesting part of the learning process.”  Carscadden then goes on to the physical side of things.  “A lot of the judges are farmers and are busy and in good shape. Callum McKinven is one of the toughest guys I know.  But I’m from the city.” Brian had a plan and he took his fitness to the next level. “Before Madison I started running and got up to ten to twelve miles a day.  At the show, I wore a pedometer.  I walked fourteen miles in two days of judging.” You might ask why Brian felt this was necessary.  He is emphatic. “You can’t judge well if you’re physically exhausted.  This is such an important show to the industry; you must do the best job you can!” Brian epitomizes the reason that Canada sets the benchmark for cattle judging worldwide!


We all wonder what the Judge in the middle of the show ring is thinking as he places the cows we are so passionate about. We want to know what he was thinking. Brian says, “Reasons are pretty important. I’m fortunate that, since the age of ten, I have had microphones in my hand. It is important to justify what you have just done.  If you can tell the crowd and satisfy them as to why their animal didn’t win, they may not agree but they can’t argue with you.” Brian says that his experience as a sire analyst and judge is the foundation that he has built on.”


Brian has always held himself to a high standard in all areas of his work. “I’ve learned the value of being professional.” He is aware that all eyes are on him, both in and out of the ring. “The biggest thing is to give an honest opinion.  Judge each cow on the day: not six months ago or three years ago.” For Brian, this kind of integrity applies outside the ring too.”Before the show, it is important to keep your nose clean.  I do not visit a farm within a month of the show. I don’t go to other shows. You must go into the ring with an open mind.”

At the Royal this year I topped the four year old class with a black cow from Jacobs.  Afterwards, Dave Crack came to me and said, ‘Jacob’s will be happy. That was the cow that was grand last week.’ I didn’t even know who she was.”

Brian Carscadden and Assoicate Judge Dave Crack

Brian Carscadden and Associate Judge Dave Crack


Brian Carscadden knows why he has the energy, enthusiasm and commitment to be a tireless cattle judge in Canada and around the world: “For me it’s a passion.  To be in the middle of the ring and see these great cows coming at you. It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck —IT’S A RUSH” Brian Carscadden