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A portion of the group of 76 participants in the judging contest at the 2013 Wisconsin Holstein Association picnic watched intently during the lead-out format at Siemers Holsteins.

A portion of the group of 76 participants in the judging contest at the 2013 Wisconsin Holstein Association picnic watched intently during the lead-out format at Siemers Holsteins. Photo By Ray Mueller

Siemers host Holstein Association’s annual picnic

Aug. 22, 2013 | 0 comments


Three generations of Holstein breed enthusiasts from Wisconsin and several other states gathered at Siemers Holsteins in southern Manitowoc County on Saturday, Aug. 17.

The event was the Wisconsin Holstein Association’s (WHA) annual picnic, judging contest, fund-raisers, and facility tours.

Association president Marci Walker of Wisconsin Dells noted that meals were served to nearly 400 persons at the start of the event. Previous attendance at the picnic, which dates to 2006, had averaged about 300.

In a brief report about WHA activities, Walker noted that both membership so far for the current business year and the numbers of cattle competing in this year’s district shows were down slightly while the turnout for the state show was up a bit.

Walker assured WHA members that the organization is financially sound, urged them to share what works and does not work in terms of providing services, and announced that the location for future state shows will be a topic of upcoming discussions.

She said the goals of the WHA include sales opportunities, breed improvement, member services, Ag Olympics, and camaraderie.

Judging Contest

Seventy-six attendees took part in the judging contest, which involved groups of four yearling heifers, milking two year-olds, and mature milking cows from the host family’s herd. Chad Ryan served as the official judge.

In very close competition, a few of the places for awards had to be decided by a coin flip.

The men’s category winner was Will Calvert, followed by Ron Jones and Dave Sarbacker. In the women’s contest, the top three placers were Sara Harbaugh, Kim Voigts, and Angie Ulness.

For age 15-21, the winners were Elizabeth Sarbacker, Lizzie Endres, and Sanne DeBruijn.

In the category for up to age 14, the top three were Garrett Ulness, McKenzie Calvert, and Ali Breunig. The top three scores in all of the categories were in the 140s.

Taking part in the judging were 24 men, 17 women, 14 in the older youth group, and 21 for the youth up to age 14. The top three placers in each category received a trophy.


Another major activity throughout the day was the sign-up for what was termed "Ashlyn Bingo" for the occasion - the chosen spot at which a dry cow (Ashlyn) would make a deposit and thereby deposit $1,000 into the hands of the buyer of that spot on the grass next to a free-stall barn.

With spots available for $20 or $100, the promotion was a sellout for a total of $8,500.

Ashlyn chose to make her deposit on the spot purchased by Todd and Trish Hoesly of Brodhead.

The balance of $7,500 was distributed in 40 percent portions each to the Wisconsin and Manitowoc County Junior Holstein Associations with the remaining 20 percent going to the Manitowoc County’s adult Holstein Association.

A silent auction was conducted for two Bonnie Mohr Studio prints featuring Holstein cows, for a half gallon glass bottle once used for home delivery of Guernsey cow milk by Hoard’s dairy farm at Fort Atkinson, and for four tickets to the Nov. 9 University of Wisconsin football game with Brigham Young University.

A 50/50 raffle brought in $165.

Special Guests

Several special guests at the event also helped with conducting some of the activities.

They were the WHA 2013 princess Morgan Behnke of New Glarus, as well as the WHA Princess Attendant Crystal Siemers-Peterman of the host family.

Also attending were the Manitowoc County Dairy Princess Bieke DeBruijn of Manitowoc, and the Manitowoc County Fairest of the Fair Hannah Lewis of Two Rivers.

WHA’s Outstanding Holstein Girl and Boy, Cara Biely and Mitch Kappelman, both of Manitowoc County, were also on hand.

Holstein Association USA director at large Corey Geiger, a Manitowoc County native, reported on recent research findings such as the use of genomics to learn more about dairy cow fertility, a project which studied feed conversion, and the obtaining of hairs from cows with a lifetime milk production of at least 150,000 pounds as a way to learn more about genotypes and genomics.

He also noted that a unified registration method to include Red and White Holsteins might be in place within a year.

WHA board member Matt Lippert, who is the chairman of the breed improvement committee, commended the host farm for having 120 "Excellent" cows and 125 "Very Good" two year-olds in its milking herd of about 2,700 head, which recently topped a rolling herd average of 33,800 pounds of annual milk production - milk that is sold to Land O’Lakes Dairy at nearby Kiel.

The picnic, judging contest, and related activities were held at the home of Wally and Marlene Siemers.

About 750 head, including a herd of recipient heifers, are housed at that farmstead along Mineral Springs Road.

The senior Siemers’ children David, Paul, Daniel, and Sherry and an upcoming generation of cousins complete the family team, which also operates the major farmstead nearly two miles to the north.

Dozens of the picnic attendees took advantage of the opportunity to visit the major commercial production facilities.

They were driven there on trams and wagons for which the tractors were provided by members of the area’s Lakeshore 2 Cylinder Club. Volunteer members of the Cleveland fire department’s Fire/Rescue squad were on hand but were not needed throughout the day.

‘Tough Week’

The WHA’s 2013 picnic was held in the wake of the tragic accidental death earlier in the week of 19 year-old John Klossner of New Glarus, who was a well-known and accomplished member of the Junior Holstein Association and who would have been a sophomore majoring in dairy science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (See the Wisconsin State Farmer’s August 17 issue for details.)

In noting this tragedy, WHA president Walker asked fellow members to remain "close, strong, and united after a challenging week." Program emcee Kevin Jorgenson, a longtime close friend of Daniel Siemers, also called attention to the loss of Klossner.

Crystal Siemers-Peterman and Morgan Behnke, both good friends of Klossner, were invited to address the picnic crowd. Both young women had most of their words washed away by tears on what was the day before the funeral for Klossner.

Dropping to his knee to address the sorrowful moment, special motivational guest speaker Steve Rose encouraged everyone affected by Klossner’s death to have faith that, as has been the case in his own life, that "life’s problems can be solved."

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