4th generation homebred Guernsey earns grand champion for her first-time World Dairy Expo exhibitors from Northwest Pennsylvania.
By Sherry Bunting
MADISON, Wis. – “With how the industry is today, this feels really good,” says Kate Aiken. “We are just so pleased she was picked.”
Dreams do come true, and on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018 that was certainly the case for Matt and Kate Aiken of Willow Brook Farms, West Middlesex, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
They had a great cow and some first-time charm.
As World Dairy Expo first-time exhibitors, the Aikens had the thrill of their 4th generation bred-and-owned 5-year-old Willow Brook Labron Toni being named grand and senior champion of the International Guernsey Show at the 52nd World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.
Reserve champion honors went to the aged cow Hi Guern View Dancing Diva-ET, exhibited by Brian and Kristi Dinderman, Orangeville, Illinois.
All year — up until Expo — Kate’s younger brother Jake Booher of New Castle, Lawrence County, had shown Toni. In addition to being the grand champion Guernsey of both the All-American Dairy Show as well as the National Premier Junior Show in Harrisburg in September, Toni had garnered grand champion three years and supreme over all breeds at the Lawrence County Fair for the past two consecutive years.
“Nose to tail, she is characteristic of the Guernsey breed with moderate size and tons of style,” said an elated Matt Aiken after leading her to champion honors at the 2018 World Dairy Expo. “But what I’ve always liked about her is her head and neck. She keeps her head up and is a pleasure to lead.”
“She knows what to do,” Matt’s wife Kate agreed. “We debated over whether or not to come out here, and we sacrificed some things to get here, so it feels good to be here to represent the Pennsylvania and the Guernsey breed. We are thrilled about Toni.”
The grand champion honor was emotional for Matt as Toni is the fourth generation out of a calf he bought many years ago as his 4-H project. He had won a few state shows with Yellow Creek Poker Tami, who had gone on to classify EX 92 at Willow Brook.
Four generations later, they have this ultimate reward: The opportunity to see their homebred Toni — also classified EX 92 as a 4-calf 5-year-old — go grand at their first-ever World Dairy Expo.
The Willow Brook Guernseys are the #3 CTPI Guernsey herd in the nation with an RHA of 20,000M. In addition to the purebred Guernseys, the home herd of 60 milk cows plus replacements includes Holsteins and a few Jerseys and Ayrshires.
“We sure kept the Udder Comfort on Toni to keep that rear udder quality going,” says Kate. “At home, we like what it does for comfort and quality. We use it for all of our fresh cows, and basically anything and everything. We’ve been using it at least 10 years, and tried other products, but this one works so we stay with Udder Comfort.”
Pennsylvania was also well-represented in the Guernsey show by other top breeders, including the Stoltzfus family. Kaila, Karli and Kolby Stoltzfus of East Earl, Lancaster County brought home reserve grand champion honors in the junior show with their bred-and-owned Warwick Manor Ty Carter, a senior 3-year-old that was also reserve intermediate champion of the open show.
The grand champion Guernsey of the junior show was Hi Guern View Diva Designer, exhibited by Riley Zettle of Rock City, Illinois. The junior 3-year-old was also the intermediate champion in both the open and junior shows. Riley was also a first time exhibitor at Expo.
Springhill Farms of Big Prairie, Ohio had the junior champion of the open show with their first-place fall heifer calf Springhill Jokes Finale-ETV. Spring Hill had shown last year’s grand champion, Springhill Mentor Jazzy-ET
Beth Anne Clark of New Paris, Pennsylvania had the top 4-year-old Misty Meadows Rebel Suite. The second-place 4-year-old had the Snider Homestead prefix and was shown by Berneta Gable along with the Potter and Nicley families of Lebanon, Indiana. They also had the total performance winner Sniders Gary Anjolee.
GuernseyChamp3217 and/or 3212
An elated Matt Aiken led homebred Willow Brook Labron Toni to grand champion honors in the International Guernsey Show at the 2018 World Dairy Expo. She is the fourth generation out of Tami, he purchased years ago as a 4-H project. This is Matt and Kate (Booher) Aiken’s first year to show at World Dairy Expo. Photos by Sherry Bunting