50 Years of the World Dairy Expo
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the World Dairy Expo (WDE). For many dairy farmers and breeders, it's a dream to show at the WDE. It’s only the cream of the crop make the cut—the Oscar’s of the dairy world.
When you see it now, it’s hard to believe that the show struggled financially in its first few years.
The first show, called The World Food Expo, was held in 1967. It was a ten-day show featuring cattle, food, and events. The original idea was to offer something for everyone—tractor pulls, banquets and Cinderella of the Dairy. The lineup of activities seemed promising, but they struggled to attract visitors. The organizers hired big bands to try and attract street attention and get the general public interested. It didn't work.
It was a few years later that the organizers switched their focus to the dairy industry. They added the 4-H show and cattle judging contests. They also shortened the show to 5 days, making it a lot more farmer friendly. (We know as farmers that taking ten days away from the farm is next to impossible, not to mention expensive.)
This change gave the WDE a boost in attendance, but it still wasn’t enough.
A tradeshow was the ticket they needed. It took one year to grow from 300 to 600 booths, and the dairy world was hooked—a place to see every dairy innovation to hit the market.
The Cow Show
The WDE cow show is the Olympics of the dairy world. Breeders from all over North America bring their top athletes to compete—cows, fitters, and showman.
When you sit in the stands and watch the parade of champions walk in the arena, the excitement starts to build. The few moments when the judge circles them making his final decision is silent. The excitement, the hoots and hollers, the cheers and handshakes that come as the judge puts a hand on the Champ is electric. It sends shivers down your spine. (Even those of us that will likely never know the feeling ourselves can imagine the joy.)
To some outside the dairy world, it may seem silly—all this commotion for a cow. They have now idea what it takes to get her there.
Looking through the past years Supreme Champions you see a quality that is hard to come by.
At the 1970 World Dairy Expo, Wind Drift Countess Nora was the very first ever Supreme Champion. She won the title again in 1972.
In the 80’s, Brookview Tony Charity hit the scene. Owned by Hanover Hill Holsteins of Port Perry Ontario, she was Supreme Champion in 1982, 1984, 1985 and again in 1987. In 1985, Hanover Hill Holsteins would sell a ½ interest of Charity to Romandale Farms for a world record of $1.4 million. That’s right half of a cow for over a million dollars. When you buy a cow like that you’re buying more than just the cow and the milk production, you are buying genetics and the possibilities that come with them.
Old Mill E Snickerdoodle took top honors in 2003 and is the only cow to win in every milking class at the World Dairy Expo.
Black and White Holsteins usually dominate at WDE, but Lavender Ruby Red-Rose Red was the first only Red and White Holstein winner in 2005.
Farmers and breeders are dedicated. We work all hours of the day every day of the year. We care for our cows like family. They are our babies; they have their own personalities and traits the same as we do.
To watch your cow have that kind of success in the show ring would rival being the stands as your child scores the winning overtime goal in the finals with 3 seconds left on the clock...it’s that exciting.
Shannon McFadden • Quality Milk Specialist
Who better to have as customer support than a dairy farmer? Shannon has been in the dairy business for 18 years. She holds a certificate in Dairy Production and Management from the PennState College of Agricultural Sciences. Together with her husband and children, she operates a dairy farm in Eastern Ontario along with her work at Dairy Quality Inc. She’s an avid advocate of the RT10 and has made the device part of their routine for over 3 years.
Image Credit: Cow Show
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