The Wisconsin Junior State Fair is the largest of its kind in the country. Hundreds of youth come to southeast Wisconsin to exhibit their project animals.
The Dairy show in particular is an exceptionally large show, taking place the first week of the state fair. These junior members, many of them living off of the farm, have worked all summer long to prepare their calves, heifers and cows to exhibit. Out of the hundreds of exhibitors from across the state, each year at the Dairyland Youth Celebration, outstanding youth are awarded for their accomplishments in the project.
From being exceptional leaders in their county, being a role model for their respective breeds and more, these youth are the cream of the crop within the dairy industry with a very bright future ahead of them.
Great Northern Cup
Each year, Rick and Paula Bovre, owners of The Great Northern Land and Cattle Co. award the Great Northern Cup. This award acknowledges excellence in sportsmanship, showmanship, fellowship, leadership and herdsmanship. The 2016 award recipient is Kristen Broege of Rock County. Broege has been showing dairy cattle for the last thirteen years, working to perfect her skills in and out of the showring, building bonds with dairy cattlemen and women as well as working with youth.
Through her involvement in the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association, Broege has served as the Princess Attendant and most recently, serves as the Chairman of the Junior Activities Committee.
Throughout these roles, Broege has truly developed skills in excellence for leadership, fellowship and more, saying, “I love watching young people learn the ropes and have fun while doing it.”
Even though she can’t pin point one group in specific that has inspired her, she accredits her parents, who have given support and encouragement for what she truly loves to do; show dairy cattle. As many dairy youth leaders can attest to, projects like this for young people, develop skills that cannot be taught in a classroom or read from a book. Broege’s efforts solidify this as she says, “What you put into something is what you’ll get out. No matter what the outcome looks to be, I always strive to give 110 percent.”
Of course her efforts were modeled by excellent youth that went before her; past recipients of the Great Northern Cup are some of the great leaders in the dairy industry today and continue to inspire others with their work. Broege said that although she never thought to be in the elite pool of recipients, she is “humbled to be thought of in the same light as them.”
George Barlass Award
The George Barlass award is presented to a color breed exhibitor who excels in leadership, cooperation, showmanship, animal fitting, positive engagement with fairgoers and overall care of the animals. The 2016 award winner is Logan Voigts of Lafayette County. Voigts says his family and friends built his passion for the dairy industry, helping him to create friendships and relationships with people who loved to do the same things as him.
Growing up he found mentors in older junior members and his siblings, watching them and learning by example. Voigts is currently serving as a Junior Activities Committee member and is now in a great position to be a role model.
“Passing on what you have learned and watching those younger members develop and become successful is truly what drives me to give back,” Voigts said about serving as a mentor. Over the years as he has become more and more active in the show ring, he says one thing he’ll never forget is “have everything planned out and then plan it out again.”
Reiterating those skills that were learned through trial and error, solidifying the real life skills that are learned every day in and out of the show ring. All of those tools, tricks and more that Voigts has learned are a reflection of his mentors as well as his family and friends who have pushed him to be who he is today. He can now say he is in the same category as some of the great people who have been in this industry and made an everlasting impact.
“It is an absolute honor to have received this award," Voigts said. "I couldn’t be more thankful of George for everything he has done for the dairy industry.”
John Klossner Memorial/Premiere exhibitor
At the Wisconsin Junior State Fair, there is a contest taking place inside of the show ring as well as outside of it. Exhibitors can compete in the Premiere Exhibitor contest, which includes a dairy cattle judging event, skillathon, quiz as well as dairy showmanship. All and any junior dairy exhibitors can compete but the top 10 are recognized for their outstanding skill in exhibiting dairy cattle.
The Premiere Exhibitor award is also given in memorial of John Klossner of Green County who suffered a fatal injury during the fair just a few short years ago. Klossner was in line to do very well in the contest and exemplified the type of exhibitor that dairy leaders wished all of their kids were like; hard working, humorous and full of heart for the dairy industry.
Since that year, the Klossner family has presented the memorial to the winner of the contest. The 2016 Premiere Exhibitor and recipient of the John Klossner Memorial is Elise Bleck of Sheboygan County. Bleck is the 15-year-old daughter of LeaAnn and Jeff Bleck and is in her third year of showing as a junior at the Wisconsin State Fair. An accomplished dairy judge and dairy quiz bowl contestant, Bleck had a goal of placing in the top ten at this year’s Premiere Exhibitor contest but said, “The thought of winning the contest never really crossed my mind.”
After completing the judging contest and skillaton, which Bleck was confident in, she felt she could solidly be in the top ten after placing 6th in showmanship. She said, “there is always new things to discover and do” which is one of the driving reasons this young lady stays involved in the dairy project. Although Bleck only knew Klossner for a short time as he served as a Junior Activities Committee member, she says she looked to him as a role model.
“His passion was evident in every quiz bowl and judging contest, and at convention,” Bleck said.
With such a long career of showing in front of her, there is nothing this outstanding exhibitor cannot achieve.