by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
The best of dairy breeds including Ayrshires, Brown Swiss, Guernseys, Jerseys, Holsteins and Milking Shorthorns from several states congregated in the Toyota Coliseum on New York State Fairgrounds at Syracuse, for the four-day, NY 2017 Spring Dairy Carousel; known as the most prestigious and largest spring show in the northeast.
“We had a really, really good week!” declared Ryan Rida of Ridale Genetics, Cummington, MA.
Ryan and wife Marjorie exhibited five animals at the elite show, coming away with Ayrshire Grand Champion, 1st Aged Cow, awarded to ‘Hardy Farm Rio Verify’; Milking Shorthorn Jr. Champion awarded to ‘Sumthin Special’, with two other first place winners, and a 3rd place winner, as well.
“Verify was also Grand champion in 2015 at NY Spring Carousel, and was Grand Champion at the Eastern States National show last year at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts,” reports Marjorie.
The young couple met through the dairy industry.
“We both grew up on our families’ dairy farms,” said Marjorie. “Ryan in Worthington, Massachusetts — just a mile and a half from where we are building our own farm now — and I grew up in Farmington, Maine. Ryan and I met showing cows in 4-H at the Big E’s Eastern States Exposition. We got married almost a year ago, May 21, 2016 on our property.”
Marjorie reports that ‘Verify’ was bred by her family (her maternal line), while her sire was bred by Ryan’s family. “A special cow to Ryan and I, being a complete merge of our families.”
Ryan and Marjorie have been purchasing animals from “some standout cow families,” developing their own lines and creating a name for themselves.
Morgan Benhke Conard of Ridgedale Holsteins, Ames, NY, says she has seen some changes in the Carousel since first attending.
“My first Carousel was in 2013. And, while I grew up with the Midwest spring show and World Dairy Expo in my back yard, NY Spring Show quickly became one of my favorite shows to attend for the impeccable quality of the cattle and for the friendships made standing ringside,” remarked Morgan. “In the four years I have been attending, dairy cattle genetics continue to improve, as well as fitting techniques. But, as a graphic designer I have a special appreciation for the rapid evolution of the way dairy cattle are marketed and advertised via media outlets, social media, and print collateral.”
“No matter where you are in the country, a cow show always feels like home,” commented Morgan.
Delaware County Dairy Specialist Erika Gogis, formerly exhibited Holsteins at the event, and attended the show this year as a spectator.
“The Ayrshire show was pretty good, with a lot of good competition,” said Gogis. “I think the show has expanded — and now they have cows from all over, even Canada, and the competition is so good! It’s an awesome show with great animals! The biggest thing I notice with the breeds is that Holsteins have always been dominant in the show ring from production to type and genetics, but you see more and more color breeds starting to have really show type animals, specifically Ayrshire’s — that breed has seemed to exploded with really quality animals!”
Gogis says that even farmers with only production animals, would benefit from attending the show.
“I think they would appreciate the quality of the animals at Spring Carousel; there are some beautiful cows out there!”
B.J. Hanfield, herd manager at Woodcrest Dairy, Lisbon, NY, says the show is a tradition for many farms. “This is the largest show in the Northeast and the top dairies from all over the northeastern states attend.”
Show judge Sheri Boardman said she is honored to be involved with the show.
“Since I have been attending the NY Spring Show, it has been great to see the involvement expand throughout the U.S. and Canada. The NY Spring show is always an exciting time as it’s the first show of the year for many, and a time to gain the momentum for the remainder of the year,” Boardman remarked. “It was an honor to work with the youth this year as I sorted through the showmanship classes. I heard the involvement was up this year in showmanship, there was somewhere around 100 competitors. It is important to encourage our youth in the dairy industry to stay involved and learn from their experiences, showing cattle teaches our youth so much in today’s world; responsibility, determination and sportsmanship.”
Results from the show will be posted at www.nyholsteins.com.