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Miss Rachael Ray tops junior Holstein show

By Janet Kubat Willette
jkubat@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 07/02/2013 11:06 AM

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OWATONNA, Minn. — Miss Rachael Ray took top honors at the Minnesota State Junior Holstein Show.

Miss Rachael was shown by Annie Culbertson, 18, of Pine Island. The show was held June 20 at the Steele County fairgrounds in Owatonna. The state open class show was June 21.

Culbertson said she's been showing Miss Rachael since she was a winter yearling.

"She's really big. … She's stylish," said Culbertson of the five-year-old who won the junior show.

This was Miss Rachael's first turn in the ring since World Dairy Expo in fall 2011, when she was shown as a senior three-year-old.

The cow has a lot of attitude, Culbertson said. She bucks around and at Expo pushed Culbertson into a display. Yet, she's her favorite cow. She was her first heifer to do really well. She's pretty mellow except when she's full of milk, which is a must for the show ring.

Culbertson was worried about how Miss Rachael would do at the junior show. This spring has been tough on her.

"She'd been having really sore feet lately," Culbertson said.

Likewise, the No. 2 cow at the junior show has struggled this spring, too.

Rodash-View Durham Jazz-ET calved in March. She wasn't well afterward and has only recently got back up to 150 pound production. The 11-year-old was shown in the 100,000 pound class at the junior show, said her owner, Rachel Friese, 21, of Wanamingo.

Jazz has earned a pile of awards. In her first time in the ring in 2009, she was named Reserve Grand Champion at the Junior Holstein Show. Jazz was back in the ring in 2011 and she was named Reserve Grand Champion of the state Holstein open class show, and also the Grand Champion of the FFA show and the open class show at the Minnesota State Fair. In 2012, she repeated as the Reserve Grand Champion at the State Fair FFA Show.

Jazz isn't the best leader, Friese said of her award-winning cow.

"She's sassy, really sassy," Friese said.

But, Jazz knows how to strut her stuff in the ring. She perks right up in the ring, Friese said, but as soon as she's out of the barn, she makes a beeline for her stall and something to eat.

The Friese family has two of Jazz's daughters in their milking herd and seven heifers coming. Her March calf was a bull. He won't be castrated.

The Friese family brought eight cattle. Rachel and her brother, Marshall, showed five in the junior show. All the cattle would be shown Friday in the state open class show, she said.

"It's a lot of fun to be with my whole family," Friese said. She also enjoys talking to other breeders.

Culbertson agreed, saying she shares cow connections with everyone at the show.

"These people are all like my best friends," she said.

A lot of the kids there know each other or of each other, added Meghan Connelly, 18, of Byron.

Connelly placed second in all three classes in which she showed during the junior show with her Terra-McCree Holsteins. She showed a junior 2-year-old, a spring yearling and a winter yearling. All are home-bred animals, Connelly said.

The winter yearling and spring yearling are granddaughters and the junior 2-year-old a daughter of Caramel, who was a Junior All-American.

Show cows get special care at home, having pens away from the rest of the herd. When it's nice, they go on pasture with the rest of the herd.

Connelly started showing cows when she was 11 years old and remembers her first days in the ring as a 4-H cloverbud.

The state Holstein show is one of the first ones of the season, which will be followed by county fairs and then the state fair.

Show days are long, but enjoyable, Connelly said.

She came to Owatonna on Monday with her cattle and was staying with a friend in Meriden. She'd start her days in the barn by 4:30 or 5 a.m. and wouldn't leave until 11 or 11:30 p.m. There were 18 cattle in her show string. Taking care of the cattle were two fitters and four youth who showed in the junior show.

The cows came early to get acclimated to the new schedule and the new water. The cows aren't used to city water, so they filter it for them.

"It's a big process," Connelly explained, adding immediately, "It's a lot of fun."

Show day is a day of excitement, she said.

Judge Molly Sloan of Columbus, Wis., said there were a lot of exceptional cattle in the ring. Every animal there deserved to be there, she said.

Sloan predicted the winners at the junior Holstein show would go on and do extremely well at national shows.

A total of 32 cows and 84 heifers were shown in the junior show. It was estimated that more than 200 animals would be show in the state open show.