Last day of Dairy Youth Extravaganza in Greeley spans generations, levels of experience | TheFencePost.com

Last day of Dairy Youth Extravaganza in Greeley spans generations, levels of experience

Tommy Simmons

Gene Van Rhee turned on his microphone, stepped into the ring of the Colorado Youth Extravaganza's All Breeds Show and addressed the several finalists lined up with their animals.

"I want to see by a show of hands," he said, "how many of you really want to win? Did you give it 100 percent in your presentation today?"

All contestants' hands shot up.

"My favorite part of doing shows is just helping someone be a little more successful," he said after the event. "I do a lot of work with young people and I try to give them instructions and help them do little things to help them be winners."

Van Rhee judged both Monday's showmanship competition as well as the All Breed's Show on Tuesday, something the Michigan native has been doing for most of his life.

Van Rhee has shown cattle for 60 years and judged dairy shows for 40 years. He estimates he travels 5,000 miles a month for dairy events and cattle evaluations.

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While Van Rhee was born and raised in the dairy industry, that wasn't true of all the contestants he judged.

"This is my first year here," said Robyn Delapp, a 17-year-old Platteville resident. "I'm really enjoying it. I really like cows, so being here is like Christmas."

The heifer Delapp showed in the All Breeds Show was Lemon, a six-month-old Jersey, named after one of the characters on the TV comedy "Hart of Dixie."

Delapp also placed second in the first year senior division at Monday's showmanship contest, which was another step out of her comfort zone.

"I usually show rabbits," she said. "There was a huge difference going from two-pound animals to 200. Showmanship isn't my strong suit, so I kind of surprised myself yesterday. The only thing the judges told me I needed to change was that I was standing too close to my animal."

Those kinds of details, which may seem minute to an outside observer, make all the difference in competitions like the Dairy Youth Extravaganza. Jacob Hirsch of Eaton, 18, has grown up minding those tiny specifics in the competitions he took part in.

Hirsch has been attending the event for 11 years, although this is his tenth year showing.

Hirsch had just taken third place in the Jersey supreme champion competition of the All Breeds Show. Standing behind the bleachers just outside the show ring, he said judging for the All Breeds Show is intense and complicated.

"Basically, they're looking for a strong dairy cow, but there's tons of different traits they look for," he said. "They literally have a huge list of them. I've done dairy judging for four years, but before that I honestly didn't know exactly what they were looking for."

Those traits all contribute to breeding a good dairy cow, which is another passion of Van Rhee's.

"I get a lot of satisfaction out of breeding excellent cows," he said. "I love genetics. I love to take an animal and say, 'what are its faults?' and then breed those out."

Van Rhee was raised in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area, which he says wasn't cow country. While Michigan is still home, he travels across the country to shows like the Dairy Youth Extravaganza and is eager to be a part of them, because at its core, the dairy industry is about more than cattle.

"My favorite part of this is the community and the people in it," Hirsch said. "That's what keeps us coming back." ❖

Extravaganza show results

Champion and reserve champion junior females

» Champion Ayrshire — Brandon Kerbs, Kerbs Bros. Chalupa

Reserve champion Ayrshire — Jacey Ross, Angie

» Champion Brown Swiss — Awna Hirsch, Hirsch Parker Chanel

Reserve champion Brown Swiss — Katie Hirsch, Hirsch Parker Miss Kay

» Champion Guernsey — Rachel Schneider, Cheryl

Reserve champion Guernsey — Thomas Stroup, My Brown Eyed Girl

» Champion Holstein — Jade Lungwitz, Miss Ariannas Arch Aria Bringing It

Reserve champion Holstein — Slayter Goss, Topanga

» Champion Jersey — Lexi Papageorge, Caramel

Reserve champion Jersey — Emmalee Hibbitts, Betsy

» Champion Milking Shorthorn — Raelee Scholfield, Roxy

Reserve champion Milking Shorthorn — Brayden Carpio, Woody

» Champion other — Rebecca Wendland, RF TP Almond Joy

Reserve champion other — Awna Hirsch, Amity

Supreme Champion Junior Female

Champion — Jade Lungwitz

Reserve champion — Rebecca Wendland

•••

Champion and reserve senior females

» Champion Ayrshire — Brandon Kerbs

» Champion Brown Swiss — Ashlea Churchwell

Reserve champion Brown Swiss — Morgan Cobb

» Champion Holstein — Brandon Kerbs

» Reserve champion Holstein — Brayden Carpio

» Champion Jersey — Kendawl Gartrell

Reserve champion Jersey — Colton Kerbs

» Champion Milking Shorthorn — Raelee Scholfield

Reserve champion Milking Shorthorn — Kameryn Gartrell

» Champion other — Rachel Wildman

Reserve champion other — Kristin Molinario

Supreme Champion Senior Female

Champion — Kendawl Gartrell

Reserve champion — Brandon Kerbs