by Sally Colby
“The Pennsylvania All-American Dairy Show is a new venture. It is designed to fill a need that has been apparent for some years. Until now, our (Pennsylvania) dairy farmers have had to take their cattle to other states to benefit from the comparisons and competition that open, national shows provide. Farmers and breeders from other states and Canada have never had the opportunity to bring their best animals into competition with native Pennsylvania until now.”
That paragraph appeared in the first catalog for what is now known as the All-American Dairy Show (AADS). Since its inception, the show has grown to a premier venue for dairy producers across the nation to exhibit and compare dairy cattle.
The first AADS, which was held in 1964 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA, drew 2,400 dairy animals representing the major dairy breeds.
“The quality of animals and the organization of events are simply fantastic,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Ag George Greig as he commented on the show and those who make it possible. “Any of us who have worked in organizations, whether it’s Farm Bureau, Lion’s Club, Grange, or church groups knows that these events don’t just happen. People who work behind the scenes don’t get a lot of credit — it’s great to see them get credit.”
Although juniors had been exhibiting at the AADS, there was no recognized youth component to the show. That changed in 2002 when the vision for a premier youth event was conceived. Although the first Premier Junior National Show was scheduled to take place at the AADS in 2004, flooding caused cancellation of the entire show. However, the team that had worked to put the junior show together was ready to make it happen in 2005. Led by Patti Hushon and a team of dedicated individuals, the junior show has become a significant part of the AADS. This year, Hushon was honored with the AADS Pioneer Award, which recognizes the work of an individual who initiates new ideas to improve the quality of the AADS. As she received the award, Hushon was quick to credit the many volunteers who make the show possible.
“The Premier National Junior Show can be defined as an unmatched national contests, unequalled junior premiums and unprecedented national junior dairy shows,” said Hushon. “All held on one day, in six rings; just for youth. No more ‘youth please take two steps forward.’ Team Patti — college students, young people and those who think are still young people — took a vision 10 years ago and brought it to the number one national junior event in the country.” Hushon added she had high standards for youth participants, including the ties and no hats in the show ring; young ladies in business attire and young men in jackets. “There were a lot of eyebrows raised, but we held the bar high in 2003 and never let it go anywhere but up.”
One of the most prestigious awards is the Obie Snider Award, established in memory of Obie Snider, one of the founders of the AADS. The award recognizes an individual who serves the industry and community and who displays high standards of conduct. This year’s Obie recipient was Samuel Yoder of Berks County, a well-known figure in the dairy industry. After serving in the U.S. Army, Yoder returned to work at his family’s dairy farm and butcher shop. The family established Pinesedge Milking Shorthorns in the 1940s, and exhibited cattle at local, state and national events. With the goal of providing Pennsylvania dairy breeders a place to exhibit cattle on a national level, Yoder and several other dairymen worked together to establish what would become the AADS, inviting exhibitors from throughout the United States and Canada to the show.
“In the early 1960s, this group of breeders began their pursuit,” said well-known dairyman Creedin Cornman as he described the role of Yoder and the others who initiated the AADS. “Their dream was financial support from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania dairy and allied industries and the Pennsylvania Farm Show Commission. Their dream became reality in September, 1964.” Over the years, Yoder and his family garnered many awards with their Milking Shorthorns, including numerous premier exhibitor and grand champion laurels. Yoder is also recognized as a mentor to many Milking Shorthorn breeders.
The Image Award recognizes people who enhance the image of the AADS with significant contributions to its reputation, welfare and prestige. One 2013 Image Award recipient is Steve Cornman of Cumberland County, who works tirelessly behind the scenes setting up milking parlors, making sure milking equipment is sanitized and running smoothly, and picking up milk from exhibitors who milk cattle in their stalls. Denise Whiting of Butler County also received the Image Award for her efforts as a board director, sponsor and volunteer.
A new award, the Arthur W. Nesbitt All-American Dairy Foundation Scholarship, was awarded to Spencer Weimer, who will graduate from Penn State Erie in 2014 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering technology. Weimer has a long history of participation at the AADS including showing Guernsey, Holstein, Red & White and Milking Shorthorn cattle.
As part of the AADS 50th anniversary events, the National Dairy Shrine awards were presented at a banquet held during show week. The National Dairy Shrine preserves the history of the dairy industry, honors past and present dairy leaders and encourages the growth and development of future industry leaders.
by Sally Colby