Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Language of a Dairy Show

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the show as I sat in the coliseum at the State Fair, but I nearly got the giggles as I thought of how the judge’s comments might sound to an “outsider” to the dairy industry.

If you didn’t know what you were watching, you might wonder what in the world you’d stumbled upon while watching a Dairy Show.

In case this is not familiar to you, the cattle walk in the ring and begin to make a wide circle around the judge.  (I bet you know why they call it a “ring” now, huh?)  The judge starts his/her judging immediately, sorting and reasoning out why they will place each animal in the order upon which they decide.

The judge will then motion to the exhibitor to bring their animal to a certain place within the ring.  Occasionally it only takes a matter of minutes.  Other times the judge is hard pressed to make a decision as to who is the top animal.  He or she will then have them stand in a line this way, then stand another way, maybe circle around again and then start placing them again.  After s/he has them lined up, s/he may still make some changes, pulling this one out and placing this calf/cow above another, etc. 

Dennis and I love to watch the judging.  Many would say it’s about as exciting paint dry.  Me?  I’d rather watch a day of dairy judging than a football game or car race or pretty much any sport.  As they say:  to each their own.

After the judge has placed the class, comes my favorite part:  S/He gives their reasons for placing them that way.  These are aptly named the judge’s “reasons”.

They go something like this:

“This is just an absolutely beautiful group of cows out here today.  Top of the class is going to go to the young man with the big black cow on the right.  She carries herself on just about the finest set of feet and legs that I’ve seen here today.  Her mammary system is just beautiful…the bloom to those quarters…excellent teat placement and size.  Her openness, and depth---just a fine specimen today.  I’ll grant that the number two cow has a straighter topline and is neater from hooks to pins, but just doesn’t have the spring of rib that the first cow does.  I’ve placed two over three because three doesn’t have quite the openness or depth.  I’ll give the nod to the three cow for the beautiful set to her legs, her fore udder attachment is so nice and snug; she just lacks some of the clean lines of the cow above her.  Three over four for size.  I would like to see just a little more size on that fourth cow...just not quite the dairy-ness that the others have here today.  I will grant that four has a lovely openness to her body.  I also placed her at the bottom of the class today because I feel she’s just a little over-conditioned, not quite as clean cut as a dairy animal should be.  All in all, a lovely group of cows out here…let’s give them a hand as they exit the ring.”

Now you may be wondering…”what in the world was all that jabber about?”

It’s really too hard to explain.  If you re-read it, you can probably figure it out. 
If you wanted to, that is. 
Which you probably don’t. 

I think my all time favorite from the show at the State Fair?
The judge said to the crowd, “I wish you could all come down and put your hands right on her.  She is just silky.”

It made me laugh.

1 comment:

  1. I thought of this post constantly today as we sat and watched some of the judging of the beef cattle at the state fair. It actually helped me explain things to my "city boy" Zackery (who refused to go into the Miracle of Birth center because "that's just too gross." Thanks for the insights on how to explain the judging process. Once we sat there for a few minutes, my county fair days and watching dairy judging started coming back to memory. I'm soooo thankful they are memories of the PAST. I enjoy being a "city girl" now!


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