Now there is a question that you will get many different answers to. From your die hard show supporters that believe the earth revolves around the show ring, to your commercial producers that would tell you there could be nothing further from what really matters. Everyone has an opinion. The question becomes, ”Who is right?” For me personally this question comes up as I prepare to head out to the Ontario Summer Show and then on to the International Intrigue Sale at Ferme Blondin on Saturday. On the one hand, I am questioning if this is really that important to 99% of the breeders out there? And beyond that, how much will the results of this show and the sale affect the dairy industry?
I wonder will the Grand Champion of the show really have any genetic effect on the rest of the industry?
Probably not. For example, take a look at last year’s World Dairy Expo and Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion, RF Goldwyn Hailey. Are her genetics setting the breed on fire? NO.
So then if it’s not from the genetic advancement standpoint, what is it that’s important about dairy cattle shows?
Will the standard from the show ring become the new standard for type classification? No. In many cases type classification and show ring evaluation could not be farther apart (Read more: Over-Scored and Over-Rated). Therefore, it’s not the show ring that is setting the standard for which all other cows will be measured.
So then what is it that has so many breeders excited about showing?
Could it be the thrill of competition? There is no doubt that as a society we put our great athletes on pedestals and maybe the show cows are just like the great athletes, whom we idolize so much. Just as in every day society, the vast majority of us could not name the top executives at the world’s Fortune 100 companies, many breeders could not tell you the top ten gTPI or gLPI females in the breed. HOWEVER … we all can tell you our favorite show cow. And just like we have Green Bay Packer, Montreal Canadians or Toronto Blue Jays fans who would die for their team, there are fans of the many great show cows that would scorn anyone who says anything negative about them.
I think another great thing about shows is the way they bring everyone together. Whether you love showing cows or not, pretty much all breeders are passionate about dairy cattle. Anytime you can get this number of people together who are passionate about the same thing, you are sure to have a good time. There is no question that dairy breeders are very passionate about what they do. You certainly cannot say you got into dairy farming for the money, because there are much greater opportunities to make money in other industries. However, you certainly will be hard pressed to find a greater community where everyone shares the same passion as they do in the dairy industry.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
Is the show ring the center of the dairy world? Probably not. But is it the perfect opportunity to see amazing cattle and talk with fellow breeders about what is great about this industry? Yes. I love to show…I love going to shows…..I love looking at great show cows…..most importantly I love talking with dairy breeders about cows. All of these things happen at a show. So for me, the answer is “Yes!” For that day, that show is definitely the center of the dairy industry!