Beef, swine, sheep people honored
Emotions ran high among a group of people who were honored by the Wisconsin Livestock Breeders Association (WLBA) Saturday (March 24) for their contributions to the livestock industry and to the development of youth in livestock-related activities.
During the annual meeting and recognition banquet of the WLBA, held at the Public Events facility at the University of Wisconsin’s Arlington farm, Tom and Marge Knauer of Avalon were honored for their contributions to the swine industry; Jenny Pinnow, Delavan, was singled out for her activities in the sheep industry; and Dave and Rena Koning of Monroe were honored for their contributions to the beef business.
Also receiving a “Friend of the WLBA” award were Bruce and Cheryl Thorson of Rudolph.
Pinnow was hooked on sheep in 1982 after she got two club lambs from a Bob Johnson sale and one of them – number 13, dubbed “Lucky” – won grand champion at her county fair that year.
Her family then got breeding stock and maintained small flocks of Corriedale, Hampshire and Dorset sheep.
During her show career, Pinnow was active in WLBA shows, especially the Spring Preview Show in Portage which she attended from 1983-1992.
Her showing career also took her to Wisconsin State Fair, the North American International Livestock Expo (NAILE) in Louisville, and many county fairs in Illinois where she showed Cheviots for Bud Barlass in the open class.
Pinnow was also very active in 4-H and FFA where she had success in judging and speaking contests. After that she decided to begin raising market type lambs.
More recently, as co-owner of Meudt Show Lambs, she helped build their flock to 150 ewes, with lambs that had showing success in Wisconsin and at other state fairs. They also had a few big wins in Texas and at the American Royal.
Currently she has a flock of 20 market ewes and plans to grow her flock to at least 50 ewes.
In addition to working in the sheep industry, Pinnow was singled out this year for her service to the WLBA board and to the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Council board.
She designed and continues to maintain the WLBA website.
The Tom and Marge Knauer family, one that has operated a swine and beef operation near Avalon since 1977, was chosen as this year’s swine honoree. The family includes Gary, Mark and Sarah, who all were involved in swine on many levels.
The family has been involved at the local level, helping the 4-H program in Rock County, as well as the county’s Pork Producer Board.
Tom served on the National Swine Registry Landrace board of directors and currently serves on the Wisconsin Pork Association board. He is a new director for the WLBA.
The family has a passion for purebred hogs and has produced top quality Landrace, Hampshire and Yorkshire hogs for years, stressing functionality, structural soundness and maternal traits in their animals.
They take great joy in producing quality breeding stock for sale and show.
They have had much success nationally and in Wisconsin with show barrows, sweeping the Landrace show at the Wisconsin State Fair for more than a decade. During that time they have also been named premier breeder/exhibitor in five of the last 10 years.
The Knauers have been known as tough but friendly competitors who continue to sell project animals to 4-H and FFA members and then follow up by helping and supporting those youths through the show season.
Dave and Rena Koning were honored for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the WLBA and the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association.
Dave, who is also president of the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association, was credited with taking over management of the WCA’s trailer, which sells sandwiches and beef items at various fairs, trade shows and expos.
The couple was credited for taking management of that fundraising tool “to another level” on behalf of their organization. It is the primary fundraiser for the organization and from it comes the money that supports scholarships and other programs funded by the cattle group.
Dave Koning has served on the WLBA board for several years, and Rena was also honored for her work on behalf of the organization.
FRIEND OF WLBA
Bruce and Cheryl Thorson of Rudolph were chosen as the 2012 “Friend of the WLBA” for their longtime support of the livestock industry in Wisconsin. (They were unable to attend Saturday’s event.)
The Thorsons spent many years as 4-H beef and sheep project leaders and State Fair chaperones for Wood County. Bruce served as director for the Marshfield Fair board, as well as Junior Fair board and Wood County market animal sale.
In addition, he volunteered as a State Fair identification coordinator for all of central Wisconsin from the time the State Fair required DNA samples to be collected.
Bruce and Cheryl are also members and supporters of the Indianhead Hereford Association, Wisconsin Angus Association and the Wisconsin Hereford Association.
They were chosen for their support of the WLBA, volunteering for many years at the Central Livestock show in Adams.
More recently they were instrumental in getting the “Summer Spectacular” show off the ground in Wausau. Jill Alf, the executive director of the WLBA, said the couple has worked tirelessly in organizing and setting up this show as well as serving as beef show chairs.
For the past three years, the couple also hosted a free exhibitor dinner at the Summer Spectacular show.
Through their business, Images Embroidery, the Thorsons sponsor numerous awards for various WLBA shows as well as the Marshfield Fair, Valley Beef Show, World Beef Expo, Wisconsin State Fair and many other jackpot livestock shows.