By Sherry Bunting
MADISON, Wis. — It was a sweet week of sweet wins for a sweetheart of a cow as Kyle Barton led Cutting Edge T Delilah to grand champion of the International Brown Swiss Show in both junior and open competitions and then rocked the Pageant of Champions on Saturday evening, October 6 as the panel of judges named Delilah supreme champion over all breed champions of both the open and junior competitions at the 52nd World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.
As senior, grand and then supreme champion, the 5-year-old Delilah EX93 94MS is bred-and-owned by the Brown Swiss show’s premier breeder and exhibitor — Elite Dairy, home of Cutting Edge Genetics, Copake, New York. She was fresh with her fourth calf in June.
The Elite Dairy herd of over 100 Brown Swiss are owned by Kyle’s grandfather Ken Main and his partner Peter Vail, and are managed today by Kyle’s brother Mikey Barton, a recent Penn State graduate who interned with the Burdette family of Windy-Knoll-View, Mercersburg, Pa. last year.
This is only the second time in World Dairy Expo’s 52 years that the supreme champion of the junior show was also supreme overall in the open show. The first to achieve this were Ashley Sears of Deerfield, Mass. in 2007 with her Guernsey cow Indian Acres Mm Pistachio Pie.
Among the crowd last week, there were murmurs of Delilah being “that kind of cow” to become a beloved Expo sweetheart like the famed Snickerdoodle.
In fact, Delilah is the first Brown Swiss to go supreme in Madison since Snickerdoodle did it in 2003, and she is one of only four Brown Swiss to ever do this in the show’s 52-year history.
Brown Swiss judge Steve Wagner of Richford, Vermont called Delilah an “easy champion.” He said that when she walked into the ring for the 5-year-old class, he turned to his associate judge Chip Savage of Union Bridge, Maryland and said, “the question is who’s second?”
Wagner made Cutting Edge Stratus Sue, exhibited by Ronald Kelm of Markesan, Wisconsin, reserve senior and reserve grand champion of the International Brown Swiss Show. She was the top aged cow.
Kyle Barton — who was also the 2018 WDE Merle Howard Award recipient — has been showing Delilah since she was a calf, and they have a team of hometown enthusiasts behind them from Columbia County, New York and beyond.
Two weeks before the World Dairy Expo, Delilah dominated the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — earning the supreme champion banner there as well.
Ken Main and Peter Vail have had five World Dairy Expo champions since they began their Elite Dairy partnership in 2003. Delilah is their second homebred grand champion. The first was Cutting Edge B Gretchen in 2013. That same year, Mikey had grand champion of the junior show with Cutting Edge P Sherry.
What excites Peter Vail is the way the whole Elite Dairy string did this year, and the success others had with Cutting Edge genetics. Elite Dairy received their 13th consecutive premier exhibitor banner and their third consecutive premier breeder award at this year’s Expo.
In addition, Elite Dairy had the intermediate champion of the Brown Swiss Show with their first place junior 2-year-old Cutting Edge B Kandy. They also had second place senior 3-year-old. Elite Dairy also had a pair of 4-year-olds that were third and fourth in their class of 17.
For head of the show crew Tim “Cooner” Coon (left), the supreme win was super sweet. He has been involved in getting cows ready for show since Elite Dairy’s inception. And he has a soft spot for Delilah, always believing she would achieve great things.
He is also a fan of Udder Comfort. The show herd at Elite and commercial herd at Berkshire Valley Farms all get the benefits of softer udders after calving. “Udder Comfort works better than anything else,” says Tim.
Elite Dairy has 11 animals consigned to the Eastern Breeders Sale in Cobleskill, New York on October 20. This includes a September 2017 Bosephus daughter out of Cutting Edge T Delilah.
For Kyle and his brother Mikey, cows equal happiness. “Dairy is a good way of life, and I know it’s tough with the economics, but I can’t imagine anything providing the happiness of working with a cow,” Kyle relates.