Wisconsin cows on top at World Dairy Expo

Michelle Stangler
Coming back for the win this year at the World Dairy Expo was Oakfield Solom Footloose-ET is owned by Duckett Holsteins, Vierra Dairy and Tim & Sharyn Abbott of Rudolph, Wisconsin.

MADISON – Wisconsin cows earned top honors at World Dairy Expo including the ultimate award: Supreme Champion. 

The competition was top notch on the colored shavings inside the Coliseum, with some of the best cattle from across North America going head to head. In addition to the elite cattle show, the six-day event unites the global dairy industry, bringing together dairy enthusiasts from around the world and one of the nation's biggest trade shows. 

Dairy animals owned by Wisconsin breeders walked away with many accolades including Supreme Champion and Supreme Champion of the Junior Show.  

Returning for top honors

Oakfield Solom Footloose-ET stole the show at World Dairy Expo as she was named the 2022 Supreme Champion. The Holstein is owned by Duckett Holsteins, Vierra Dairy and Tim & Sharyn Abbott of Rudolph, Wisconsin.

Her winning streak began with numerous wins in the International Holstein Show, topping the Five-Year-Old Cow Class and later named Senior Champion Female and Grand Champion Female.

As Footloose circled the ring, Judge Pierre Boulet remarked that the five-year old was "a special cow, with so much balance, with a really good udder and feet and legs.” Over the course of the two-day show, Boulet and his associate judge and fellow Canadian Richard Landry placed 508 Holsteins.

The granddam of Footloose who also captured supreme champion honors in 2009 and 2010.

Final year exhibiting as a junior brought success for Nickels winning the Grand Champion of the International Junior Jersey Show with Homeridge T Annette.

Impressive last year as a junior

For UW-Madison student and 'everything dairy' enthusiast, Kylie Nickels' final year as a junior ended with winning Supreme Champion of the Junior Show with Homeridge T Annette, the Grand Champion of the International Junior Jersey Show.

After winning top honors in the show ring last year, Nickels claimed back-to-back Grand Champion Female of the Junior Show titles with Annette.

“I don’t think everything from this past week has set in yet,” said Nickels, who hugged the four-year-old Jersey in the show ring after being tapped for top honors for the second time. “It finally feels like all the many years of long hours, blood, sweat, and tears all paid off in one night.”

In addition to ribbons and hardware, Nickels also won a trailer lease from Frenchville Trailer Sales, LLC. While her days of exhibiting as a junior are now officially over, Nickels and partners will get much use of the trailer in the coming year traveling to different shows, sales and other dairy-minded adventures.

The Dodge County native has achieved many accomplishments throughout her junior years that include being named the 17th Merle Howard Award winner at World Dairy Expo last year. In 2019 and 2021 Nickels was chosen as the Supreme Champion Showman at the Wisconsin State Fair. She was also a member of the state's successful National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest team and earned top honors as an individual in 2017.

Nickels says the experience she's gained on several show dairy farms will serve her well  in the years ahead as she plans to continue exhibiting dairy cattle in the open class division. Annette is owned by Budjon Farms and Peter Vail, Dawson and Kylie Nickels, John Cunningham and Jon-Lori-Caroline Powers.

Red and White Holstein had potential

For not being shown as a calf or heifer, MS Ransom-Rail Beth-Red shined brightly this year as a four-year-old winning the title of Grand Champion Female and Senior Champion Female of the International Red and White Show.

When she calved, her owners saw potential in the young cow. A year ago at the 2021 World Dairy Expo at three weeks fresh, Beth placed fourth in the junior three-year-old cow class. Now, she topped the breed.

“We didn’t know she would even do it as a four-year-old, but she obviously did,” said leadsperson Jared Dueppengiesser after the impressive win. "She’s just, in my opinion, the right kind for what our breed needs.”

Jared Dueppengiesser

The Red and White Holstein is not what Dueppengiesser calls "crazy tall", but says she is a moderately statured cow that’s balanced with a tremendous udder.

Dueppengiesser says the special feeling from the judge's handshake is a memorable moment.

“Just exhibiting one at that level is an incredible feeling, but to breed one as well, it’s a whole different level. Coming full circle and watching her develop as a calf and all the way through is a great accomplishment,” he said.

While Dueppengiesser doesn’t directly manage the Milk Source Genetics farm every day, he manages one of the larger dairies of Milk Source.

The four-year-old is currently owned via a partnership of Milk Source, Ransom-Rail and Laurie Fischer of Kaukauna, Wisconsin..

Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor of the Red and White Show was awarded to Owen & Kendyll Kress, Kress-Hill Dairy of Newton, Wisconsin. Premier Breeder was awarded to Milk Source of Kaukauna.

Three consecutive titles for Wisconsin’s Guernsey

Valley Gem Altas Malt-ET has kept a winning streak going for three years. The Guernsey has won Grand Champion Female of the International Guernsey Show honors in 2019, 2021 and 2022. While co-owner Brandon Grewe said he wasn’t expecting a three-peat, he was hoping for it.

“She honestly does a lot of it on her own,” said Grewe, adding that the cow's daughters are also showing potential and have competed at World Dairy Expo.

3-time Grand Champion Female of the International Guernsey show Valley Gem Altas Malt-ET hails from Cumberland, Wisconsin.

Located in Cumberland, Wisconsin, Valley Gem Farms is where Malt is housed, earning her very own pen. Grewe enjoys farming with his wife and daughter alongside his parents on the 185-cow dairy. Over the years the family has been devoted to growing the breed.

“The Guernsey breed has come so far in the last 10 years and it’s cool to see what our breed is doing, earning respect from everyone,” said Grewe who serves on committees dedicated to improving the breed.

While Grewe brought animals to the show, he admits what he enjoys most is being immersed in the 'environment' again.

“I love the industry, I love the family feeling it has and I love showing cows,” said Grewe. "It’s pretty phenomenal to be here.”

While Wisconsin cows soaked up their share of the limelight, a quintet of heifers was not to be overlooked as they competed for their respective titles during the supreme drive. Competing entries include:

  • Junior Champion Female of the Junior Ayrshire Show: Grand-View Tuxedo Devyn-ET won the Fall Heifer Calf Class before taking home the honor of Junior Champion Female of the Junior Show. Devyn is exhibited by J, L & M Harbaugh and Tim Busch of Marion, Wisconsin.
  • Junior Champion Female of the Junior Brown Swiss Show: From winning the Summer Yearling Heifer class, Random Luck Total Perfection, was exhibited by Jacob Harbaugh and Matthew Thompson of Marion, Wisconsin. 
  •  Junior Champion Female of the Brown Swiss Show: Winning the Summer Yearling class, Random Luck Total Perfection, was the last heifer standing as she was named Junior Champion of the International Junior Brown Swiss Show. Perfection is owned by Jacob Harbaugh and Matthew Thompson of Marion, Wisconsin. 
  •  Junior Champion Female of the Guernsey of the Junior Guernsey Show: Rounding out the champion group was Prairie Gem Midnight Storm-ETV, owned by Dylan and Cameron Ryan of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin,  earning Junior Champion Female of the Junior Show after winning the Fall Heifer Calf class.