MADISON - The buzz around Rosiers Blexy Goldwyn was hard to miss. The aisle behind her stall was packed with people. International visitors aimed cell phones at the Holstein's udder as a crew prepared her for the Supreme Champion Parade.
One man pointed to her and said, "You will never see a more beautiful cow than this one."
Judges for the Supreme Champion show agreed as they crowned Blexy the 2017 Supreme Champion at the World Dairy Expo on Oct. 7.
Blexy had claimed first place honors in the Six-Year-Old Cow Class and Senior and Grand Champion Female in the International Holstein Show earlier in the week.
What does it take to get a cow of this caliber ready to compete at this level?
"A lot of work," said Clark Woodmansee, one of Blexy's owners. "It takes some luck too - she needs to be at the right stage of lactation and she needs to be fed the right diet, and cared for and managed in a manner where, not only does she give a lot of milk, but she also looks the part. It's like an athlete."
Woodmansee said he's had cows as reserve grand and honorable mention, but this was the first time as a Supreme Champion.
"It felt really good," Woodmansee said, "something you work all your life for."
Woodmansee is among a group of people that own Blexy, who is housed at Budjon Farms in Lomira, Wis. In her early years Blexy lived in Connecticut on Woodmansee's farm and later went to Budjon Farms.
"They got her ready," added Woodmansee. "They did a great job obviously."
Blexy took the top spot at World Dairy Expo over last year's Supreme Champion, Musqie Iatola Martha-ET, exhibited by Milksource Genetics of Kaukauna, Wis., who earned the honor of 2017 Reserve Supreme Champion.
Winning the Grand Champion title of the International Jersey Show for the third consecutive year, Martha's owners say it's an honor to own a cow of her caliber.
"We have a lot of really good cows and cows we are really enthused about, but the truth of it is, Martha is one for the ages," said Jim Ostrom, one of the co-founders of Milksource Genetics. "I honestly could live the rest of my life and never have a cow do this well again."
Storms broke out in Madison moments after the Junior Supreme Champions took shelter to start the Supreme Champion parade in the coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
Phone alerts buzzed with tornado warnings as the national anthems of Canada and the United States were being sung, but nothing dimmed the enthusiasm of the crowd as the best dairy cows paraded into the ring.
Alyssa Nuttleman of Bangor, Wis, led the Junior Reserve Supreme Champion, Adams Creek Ap Bianca-ETV, onto the colored shavings.
The Junior Supreme Champion, Miss Nastias Y Not Me was exhibited by first-time Expo exhibitor, Aspen Silva of Modesto, Calif.
A total of more than 2,000 cattle were housed on the grounds at the Alliant Energy Center during the World Dairy Expo, with more than 1,700 exhibitors from 40 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces.
The show drew more than 68,000 guests with more than 2,500 international guests from 97 countries.