One of the perks of being a dairy enthusiast is the way it makes us look closely at the work we do every day. You can’t be successful on a dairy farm or in the show ring by walking with your head down and not noticing the dairy girls who are are at work right beside you. We all love it when something we are enthusiastic about goes viral on Facebook. Having said that, it isn’t any wonder that there has been huge enthusiasm and support for the “Bovine Beauty Challenge” which asked challengers to post a picture of a favorite cow for 7 days (and nominate 1 person each day) and, thereby to inundate Facebook with Bovine Beauty. When we see how much others appreciate the beauty inherent in raising cattle, it gives meaning to every day work and reminds us why we love doing what we do. Here are some highlights gathered from the stories, memories and pictures from “The Bovine Beauty Challenge” 2016.
This “Sassy” Bovine Beauty Sparks Priceless Friendships!
One of the stories that highlights the reasons why we love beautiful dairy cows came from Brent Howe who gave the background behind his selection of “Howes BC Sassy”. Of course, there are many who recognize her name and recall seeing that cow. What makes this selection special, however, is Brent’s well told story of the friendships, both working and in the showing, that sprang directly from the breeding and sale of Sassy. The story flows smoothly from the interest in Sassy “by a young Frenchman”, Donald Dubois. When Dubois, the breeder of Boulet Charles, came to the farm in Aylmer Ontario to see the heifer, Sassy definitely passed the test. Before he left, he had purchased Sassy as a springing heifer for $10,000.00 along with 3 other VG cows on top of that price! Brent sums it up. “It was a very big deal for Howe’s Holsteins!”
“Sassy’s Beauty is Special for the Boulet Family Too!”
In a later posting on the “Bovine Beauty Challenge, Pierre Boulet who had accompanied Dubois added photos and his own comments about the transaction that began this journey. “I tried to drop your price and negotiate but you remained firm in your offer! We went to lunch and the more I thought about it the more I wanted that Charles heifer to come home with me. A heifer like that with a sire stack like she had (Starbuck, Sexation), there was no going wrong! So we shook on it and the rest was history!” Pierre credits her as being “my first big time cow and she took me on a ride I will never forget”. To this day, a lasting tribute to her beauty and impact remains. ”The painting of her is still on the front of my barn, 23 years later.” Reports Pierre “I have lots of amazing cows but she will always have a special place in my heart.”
“Beauty Goes Beyond Financial Benefits”
Sassy definitely lived up to her potential. Brent explains in reporting Sassy’s result that spring, “1st Sr 2 and HM Champion at Quebec Spring show!” The icing on the cake was that Sassy’s picture was the centerfold in the Holstein Journal promotion by W.O.B.I. The fame and friendships continued to grow. “The Dupasquier family at Guelph had purchased a share of Sassy from Pierre and enjoyed success for some time also. She was All Canadian & All American ’94,’ 95, ’96!!!” Without question, this obvious bovine beauty had tremendous impact on Brent. He sums it up this way. “I learned never to be afraid to sell a homebred good one because she will always carry your prefix!
Serenity’s bovine beauty was even greater because she met adversity and overcame it! Sometimes the beautiful bovine is part of a journey that has many key events that we might not identify as they are happening. That is the case with another nomination in the Beautiful Bovine Challenge. “Miss Triple-T Serenity is special to me.” Says owner Jennifer Thomas. Her favorite cow nearly didn’t make the trip to Madison because she became sick. “We said she had to show several signs of improvement in order to go. I am not going to lie. I sat in the barn and cried. She has kind of always been my pet and has never been sick before that. She must have wanted to go to the show because she started to show improvement. She ended up 2nd at WDE. Then in November, I was 8 months pregnant and took a truck and trailer with 4 Jerseys to Louisville with a curly headed 3-year-old in tow. Thankful for Renee Pierick and her ability to help entertain Kendall! Nathan was in Canada at the Supreme in Quebec and the Royal with the HOLSTEINS. Serenity ended up Winning her class and Reserve Grand that day. It was probably my proudest moment in the show ring. Thanks to my good friend and partner Cybil Fisher and to every else who helped me that week…it was a memorable one!”
Bovine Beauties Inspire Teamwork
For Richard Caverly the “Bovine Beauty Challenge” inspired him to consider not one but two cows. He gives an interesting explanation of his double choice. “My choice is not because I have spent countless hours with either of them, or because I have made a difference in either cow’s legacy, but because of the people involved with these two cows and how their passion to see these animals succeed should inspire those who share their dream.” He gives a basic outline of the events. “ The two weeks I spent with “Monique” and “Hot Mama” in Canada last year was two weeks getting to know some special people. They may not have had the biggest names on these cows’ registration papers, but they are the individuals that through countless hours of dedication, hard work, and never ending effort that put two cows in a light which sometimes casts shadows over those behind the scenes.” Richard highlights that it takes everybody to make a winner. Their commitment to showcasing Bovine Beauty was achieved through hard work, talent and passionate determination to excel. This team which included the likes of “Joey” and Amber Price, Chris Curtiss, Eddie” Acesse MilkShow, and Mat Smith brought together an interesting array of personalities, who by sharing a common goal gelled into a dedicated team working towards a common goal of “team success”.
“Good Mothering is at the Heart of Bovine Beauty”
The nomination of Four-Hills Gold Jaslene-ET” given by Megan Hall provided yet another interesting perspective on the many facets of Bovine Beauty. Megan points out, “I would be lying if I said she didn’t have a Goldwyn attitude, but she sometimes can be calm and loving. These calm and loving traits comes from her mother, one of our family’s favorite cows, Sequa Linjet Jamie. I’m sure the woman who raised Jasmine also had a little something to do with this. Sue Brown raised Jaslene when she was born prematurely and helped develop her into the wonderful cow she is today.” For Megan, it took two mothers to realize the full potential of one Bovine Beauty.
“Winning is Beautiful!”
As Facebook filled with beautiful pictures and stories, it was easy to ask the question, “Which comes first Dairy Show Ribbons or Bovine Beauty?” For Katie Kearns the show ring was very important to her beautiful bovine nomination “Ernest-Anthony Thriller EX 95 –on a gorgeous fall day in Springfield in 2010 won the Sr 3-year-old class, Intermediate Champion, Grand Champion, Best Udder and Bred and Owned at the Big E.” She balances that with acknowledgement of her other talents. “There were a lot of special memories with her including other show days and the day she scored 95. It always puts a smile on my face when I think of her. A sweetheart to work with.”.
“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express!”
At the other extreme from the show ring is the type of Bovine Beauty described so eloquently by Abe Light. You won’t recognize the cow pictured below. As a matter of fact, neither do I. In the past six days of recalling some of the best cows that have touched my life, it has reminded me of the many, many cows that shaped my life who won’t have a name or a face that is recognized through the years. The cows that will never be seen by a kid flipping through an old Holstein Journal or World. The cows who maybe never got picture, maybe never went to a fair, and maybe never had a special calf to carry on their bloodline. The silhouettes in the horizon of our memories.”
Passion for Bovine Beauty Starts Young!
Abe treasures many cattle that some might call ordinary but one particular herd had a big influence on his dairy life. “ The cows of Dairysmith Holsteins were the cows that cemented my passion for the Holstein cow. Citamatt Sapphire, and Skybuck Memphis are the first that come to mind, but at that time I could have given you a name and a pedigree for every one of those 106 stalls. Jimmy V said a good day is a day that you laugh, a day that you think, and a day that you’re moved to tears. By that measure, these two cows provided me with more than one Good Day, and I hope that one day I’ll have cows like them in my life again who bring out only the purest form of passion I’ve ever know’ the passion for good cows.” Abe was particularly moved by the responses to his posts. “One message really set itself apart from the other. It was from a young person in Canada, who messaged to say they were loving the stories and hoped that they would have their own stories like mine to tell one day. Doesn’t get any better than that. Keep passing the torch.”
The Bullvine Bottom Line
And so we hope you too will pass the torch and share with dairy and non-dairy friends and neighbours all that is beautiful about the cattle we work with. After all, at one time or another we have felt like Brent Howe, who enthused, “She was the cow of a lifetime, a breeders dream and the opportunities and friendships she created were priceless.”
Our Bullvine wish for each of you is that you can find the BEAUTY in every BOVINE DAY!