The All American Jersey Shows are a showcase displaying some of the world’s most prestigious Jersey genetics. Placing elite animals is a heavy task that falls to a select few skilled judges.
Jersey Journal spoke with the three judges who officiated this November in Louisville, Ky., about their perspectives from within the ring. Brady Core of Keightley & Core Jerseys in Salvisa, Ky., judged the All American Junior Jersey Show. A former Jersey junior member himself, the opportunity brought his judging career full circle.
Tell us a little about your background with Registered Jerseys. How and why did you get involved with showing?
It’s pretty simple, I was born into the business, I’m a third-generation Jersey breeder. I feel like it’s something that has just always been my passion, there is nothing I love more than breeding and developing the next generation of genetics in our herd.
Was there a moment or experience where you knew you wanted to be a judge?
As a kid, 4-H dairy judging was a very important aspect of my life. Learning to evaluate animals in a subjective aspect and being able to talk about those placings was obviously very important. All the experiences gained through all those practices, contests and time spent traveling with peers and mentors were truly invaluable to my life. I honestly have dreamed about judging shows my entire life, I started the summer after graduating college in 2010. It is truly one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.
As a former junior Jersey exhibitor, what does being selected as to come back to the All American Junior Jersey Show as a judge mean to you?
The All American Jersey Show is literally the highlight of my whole family’s year, it’s our vacation, family reunion and our celebration of all our hard work for the year. As a junior member, I have tons of terrific memories in the show ring at Louisville. Most of those came early in my show career with a heifer named Lorens Barrie and KJF Renaissance Lacy, the four-time Grand Champion. Sometimes I wonder if at the time I truly understood how special it was to have Lacy repeat four consecutive years, but now reflecting back I feel that is the passion which fuels me to push harder each year. Without a doubt, being asked to judge this year’s Junior Show was the biggest honor of my life and an experience I will never forget.
Your family has a long history exhibiting at the All American with many notable laurels. With those experiences, what do you believe is the significance of youth exhibiting elite Jersey genetics at the All American?
Return on investment. For me, there is nothing more pleasing than to see someone’s hard work and passion pay off. Caring for dairy animals is no easy task, breeding show-winning cattle is an art and putting all that together on the green shavings in Louisville is truly special. Meeting new people and learning from peers and mentors in the industry and sharing your success with these people truly make the business what it is.
Were there any favorite moments as this year’s judge? Please describe.
Honestly ever second of it was special to me, but just walking into Freedom Hall and seeing the first class of the day enter the ring was a special moment for me. It was at this point I realized that this was real, and I was about to have the best day of my judging career. Of course, selecting Grand Champion and being able to thank all the people that helped me get to this point was also a very emotional and special moment that I will certainly cherish.
What are some of the thoughts that went through your mind as you’d place a class?
I think just to be very thorough and evaluate each animal equally, find the type of cattle I like and follow that pattern.
Describe your emotions as you selected your champions and go to congratulate the exhibitors.
It was a very emotional experience for me, tough to put into words how much it meant to be there. The opportunity to thank all my friends and family for their help in getting me to this point was certainly important to me. I enjoyed getting the crowd to stand and congratulate the youth as I selected the champions. Being able to make some of those youth exhibitors have that special champion moment is a feeling second to none.
What is something you want the junior exhibitors to walk away with as they left your ring?
Mostly pride, whether they were first or last. I hope they have pride in their animals and return for all their hard work in getting to that point. Secondly, I hope they all learned something, ways to improve their animals for next year or new bulls for next year’s matings. Finally, I just hope their passion for the dairy industry and the Jersey breed continues to grow, and they can use that passion to further them in their future.