Dairy is in their blood
April 14, 2006
by Molly Johnson
Fence Post Intern
Yeah, you could say there is “dairy” in their blood … It was a showmanship class of three. You think it’d be fairly easy to place, but not when there’s a concerned and pregnant mother waiting on the sidelines, cheering her 5-year-old son on. Oh, did I mention she was in labor? We’re not talking a little kick from the baby at a dairy show, we’re talking contractions … It’s a miracle the baby wasn’t born right there in the sawdust of a dairy cow’s stall, not that he would have minded. Of course, to make the day complete, Chase Maxey won the showmanship class and was quickly whisked off to the hospital to meet his brand new baby brother, Cameron.
Chase was 5 at the time, Cameron was still in the womb, but at that moment in 1995 at the Annual Black and White Dairy Show, it was obvious that these kids were born with dairy in their genes.
Cameron, now age 6, and Chase, 10, both live in east Greeley with their parents, Jeff and Deanne Maxey, just across the road from their grandparent’s dairy farm. As grandchildren to George and Jean Maxey, owners of Maxey Farms, Cameron and Chase know what it’s like to help run the dairy. Their father, Jeff, is a business partner in the family dairy and they love to help him with the daily chores necessary to run a successful dairy.
“They love to be on the farm and to be outside, helping their dad,” said Deanne.
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When they’re not looking for newly born kittens, washing the teats of the cows, feeding the cows grain and hay, bottle-feeding baby calves, or helping Grandpa clean the milking barn, they’re busy just being kids.
Chase is in Box Elder 4-H club (where he shows his cows), is on the Weld County 4-H Dairy Judging team, and plays baseball, football, basketball and softball.
Cameron shows his cows, works with his dad on the farm when he’s not in school, plays baseball, helps his grandma plant her garden and works with his grandpa in the barn.
Cameron has a December calf named “Leeta” that he will be showing this year. He’s already shown at the Little American Royal Livestock Show (LAR), hosted by the Platte Valley FFA Chapter, and plans to show in a brand-new show called the “Dairy Extravaganza” that will be held at Island Grove Fairgrounds June 7-9.
Cameron also plans to show at the Colorado State Fair, but is still too young to show at Weld County Fair.
Other than Leeta, Cameron also has three other cows, two heifers and two bulls. Among them, his favorite, “Dutchess,” is a cow of a different color … she’s a Jersey. “Jersey’s are easier for kids to handle because they don’t get as big as the Holsteins,” said Jeff.
But that’s not why Cameron loves Dutchess. “We did really good together,” he said. Dutchess was the first Jersey that the Maxeys ever bought, and it turns out that Cameron won three, first places with her at the 2000 Colorado State Fair. Cameron was only 5-years-old when Dutchess was named the Champion Jersey Heifer at that State Fair. He was also awarded a first place premium of $200 in honor of his hard work for the “Colorado Dairy Youth Foundation Award.”
Cameron started showing dairy when he was just 3 years old. He showed his first calf at the LAR in the “Pee Wee Showmanship” class. For now, Cameron is just getting started showing his dairy cows and calves and heifers, but when he grows up, he wants to work right along side Dad, Jeff, doing farm and tractor work.
He also enjoys tagging along with his brother, Chase, when he’s still too young to show. When I asked him his favorite dairy product, he replied, “Butter.” I said, “Butter on what?” And he said, “Butter on butter.” We all laughed, but as I glanced at his mom, she just nodded her head, and said, “Yup, butter on butter is really true, he’ll just eat it plain.” However, every once in a while, she can convince him to spread a little butter on his pancakes, bread and crackers.
Then there’s Chase, the little boy in the show ring when his mother was in labor with his younger brother. Chase owns a September calf named “Daffy” that he will show this year all across Colorado. On top of that, Chase owns five cows, three heifers and six “oopsy” bulls that were supposed to be heifers. Chase also has one Jersey cow, named Nikko. As the older, and “wiser” sibling of the two, Chase is quick to remind Cameron that, “Yes, cheese does come from cows!” Chase doesn’t mind teaching his younger brother something here and there about the dairy business.
Chase has shown this year at the LAR and will also show in the upcoming Dairy Extravaganza. Chase will show his cows at Weld County and at Colorado State Fair, and maybe even at the Kansas State Fair.
Chase likes having cows because it gives him something fun to do in the summertime. “It’s how you get milk, cheese and butter,” said Chase when asked about why the dairy industry was important. And as far as his favorite dairy product goes, “he loves Colby-Jack cheese,” said mom, Deanne.
When looking to the future, Chase thinks long and hard about what he “wants to be when he grows up,” and pauses … “I’ll probably help my dad,” he said. Their dad chuckled and said that when you grow up on a farm, you get to experience things other people don’t.
He hopes his sons learn responsibility and respect for animals because of their dairy experience, and hopes that moral will carry over into every aspect of their lives. “When you deal with animals, you deal with life,” said Jeff, and that’s the most important thing he could hope for his kids to remember.
While the kids are still too young to decide for sure whether or not they want to be professional dairymen, their mom is sure they will do something that will help the industry move forward. “They will have a positive influence on the industry because of their agricultural background,” said Deanne.