I Just Got Lucky’

8/18/2012 7:00 AM

Doug Boop Remembers Last Year’s Record-Setting Success

Jessica Rose Spangler


MILLMONT, Pa. — When showing cows, having a breed champion at a national show is a once-in-a-lifetime event for most people — but Doug Boop isn’t most people.

Last year, he set a record for being the first showman in history to have two breed champions in the same day, plus supreme champion on top of that, at the All-American Premier National Junior Shows in Harrisburg, Pa.

Despite the happy ending, Doug’s Monday show day last year didn’t go all that smoothly. Much like dozens of other juniors, Doug had to juggle two different breed rings at the same time — the Holsteins and the Red and Whites.

Once the show began, Doug, now 16, and his brother, Matt, 13, were almost constantly in the show ring until day’s end. Doug’s day began with his Holstein winter calf, J&K-Vue Atwoods Greatest-ET. After winning her class, she went on to be named honorable mention junior champion.

Matt was next in the ring with his senior 3-year-old Holstein, Heart&Soul Algnce Riske-ET. They left the ring with a second-place ribbon.

Then came the 4-year-old Holstein class, where Doug led Linden-Loch Damion Delila to first place.

Then Doug was off to the Red and White ring. Woodfield Contender Bunnie made Doug three for three with a win in the senior 3-year-old class.

Blink of an eye and Doug was right back in the ring with Bunnie. The spunky red cow captured the attention of judge Ronald Heffner who named her intermediate champion. Doug’s “happy ending sundae” was beginning to build.

While Doug was leading Bunnie to success, his Holstein aged cow, Heart&Soul Reggie Regina-ET, needed to be in the show ring. So little brother, Matt, got the call and came away with a win.

Next up, the senior champion Holstein class. Despite already having a whirlwind day, Doug put whipped cream on his sundae with judge Theodore Halbach naming Delila as senior champion and Regina as honorable mention. But the kicker — Matt was on Delila’s halter.

“Whenever I have two cows that go in at the same time, Matt always gets the one that behaves the best,” Doug said.

And then grand champion. No surprise here — Delila got the banner and Doug got a $1,000 savings bond, adding the sprinkles to his sundae.

Doug was then back down to the Red and White ring, where he added hot fudge to the top of his sundae when Bunnie was named grand champion.

Fast forward a little and it’s 2:30 p.m. and the supreme champion pageant for the Premier National Junior Shows. With two cows needed in the ring, Doug let Matt take the animal that walks the best.

“The red cow has a mind of her own. She’s not good with large crowds,” he said.

So, with Doug leading Bunnie and Matt leading Delila, plus the five other breed champions, the six judges tried to decide which breed champion should be named supreme.

A huge grin came to the faces of both boys when they heard the judges decision — Delila was supreme. This final award meant Doug had accumulated more than $4,000 in premiums, awards and savings bonds in one day. What a way to end the day — topping his metaphorical sundae with a huge cherry.

Then it was time for pictures. In all of the photos, no matter who took them, Matt was on Delila’s halter.

“I always think that the person leading the cow should be the one in the pictures. It’s all in the family anyway,” Doug said.

The ironic part of the day was that neither of these champions was originally meant to be owned by Doug. Delila was purchased as a calf by his grandparents, Gerry and Kathy Boop, for Doug’s cousin, Katie. But like many other kids, Katie’s interests steered her away from showing.

The Boops originally purchased Bunnie from Canadian breeders for Matt. But before they could get her across the Canadian border, she got ringworm. By the time Bunnie was healthy and reached J&K-Vue Farm, she was too big and too ornery for Matt to control. So by default, Bunnie went to Doug.

The win “didn’t sink in till later that night. I just got lucky, I guess,” he laughed.

But his time for celebration was short-lived. That evening, the boys and their parents — Doug and Jen Boop — started getting animals ready for Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Holstein Championship Show, followed by Wednesday and Thursday’s All-American shows.

On Tuesday, Delila was grand of the youth show and reserve grand of the open show. Regina was reserve grand of the youth show. Riske was third in her class, first junior, and intermediate champion of the youth show — a win for Matt!

After the All-American classes, Delila came out third, Bunnie was second, and Greatest was second.

After a short stay at home, the animals were off to World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. Delila was fifth in the junior show and Greatest was fourth. Doug was unable to show Bunnie in the junior competition.

“They both did pretty good out there for the amount of competition they stood,” he said.

After the show season was complete, Doug capped off his winning year with the announcement of all the All-American and All-Pennsylvania awards:

Regina: Honorable Mention Junior All-American Aged Cow, All-Pa. and Junior All-Pa. Aged Cow;

Delila: Nominated Junior All-American 4 Year Old, All-Pa. and Junior All-Pa. 4 Year Old;

Bunnie: Nominated Junior All-American Red and White Senior 3 Year Old, Nominated Junior Red and White Cow of the Year;

Greatest: Nominated Junior All-American Winter Calf, Honorable Mention Junior All-Pa. Winter Calf.

Home on the Farm

Doug and Matt take extra pride in their show successes because of the work they put in at home. Around the show circuit, friends of the family joke that Doug is Jen’s kid and Matt is more like his dad.

At home, Jen “is the main cow person,” the boys said laughing. And young Doug is always by her side. She makes all of the day-to-day decisions and takes care of everything from milking to herd health and heifer care.

Jen also makes the final decisions on the show string, but Doug has a significant say in the heifers he takes. “The cows sort themselves out. You don’t have to decide that part,” Doug said.

Doug’s main responsibility is the show cow pack barn, where he cleans daily and feeds all the animals. He also walks the show heifers and hoses down the entire show string daily. Additionally, he feeds all the other animals when his father and grandfather, Gerry, aren’t around.

The elder Doug works off the farm two or three days a week as a nutritionist for Renaissance. But when he is home, he’s never far from the action in the dairy barn.

“He makes all the breeding decisions. I offer suggestions, but I don’t mess with that. He’s had good luck,” Jen said.

Doug, the father, assists with milking and feeding, as well as spearheading the crop work with the assistance of Gerry. Matt has a lot of interest in the cropping end of the operation, but he’s not quite old enough to drive the tractors.

But elder Doug’s new “toy” is the high-rise layer house they installed in June. He and Matt have taken a special interest in the operation, along with Kathy, who oversees the egg packing. The house was designed with 43,000 hybrid chickens that lay eggs to be used for vaccines.

“There aren’t any cages. They’re all free roaming with a big nest in the center with a belt that brings out the eggs. We ship eggs every Tuesday and Thursday,” the elder Doug said.

The Boops decided to build the layer house because they knew they needed to diversify, especially since both boys want to return home after school. They looked at putting up a freestall and adding more cows, but with increasing feed costs and decreasing milk prices, they decided that option wasn’t for them. With this option, they are contracted per chicken, not per egg, and have room to add another house, if needed, in the future.

The Future

Agriculture is sure to be part of the equation for both Doug and Matt.

The younger Doug is entering his junior year at Mifflinburg High School and is contemplating attending college. After school, he wants to return home and continue working with the dairy herd. He especially takes pride in marketing his animals.

Matt will be in eighth grade this fall. He’s thinking that his future holds some sort of schooling, maybe a diesel mechanics degree. When he returns home, he wants to take over the layer operation, and by then he’ll sure be big enough to work in the fields.

No matter what their future holds, the Boop boys are sure to continue their family business at home and in the show ring.<\c> LF20120818_Boop-Bunnie

Photo supplied by Boops

Woodfield Contender Bunnie EX-91 — Grand Champion Red and White, 2011 Premier National Junior Show


Photo supplied by Boops

Linden-Loch Damion Delila EX-92 — Grand Champion Holstein and Supreme Champion, 2011 Premier National Junior Show


Photo by Jessica Rose Spangler

Doug Boop with his winter yearling “Greatest.” She was the first place winter calf and honorable mention junior champion at the 2011 Premier National Junior Show.


Photo supplied by Boops

Jen, Doug and Matt Boop with Delila after she was named Supreme Champion. Matt got to lead her during the pageant because Doug was leading Bunnie.


Photo supplied by Boops

The Boop farm — J&K-Vue Farm — in Millmont, Pa.


Photo by Jessica Rose Spangler

Matt and Doug help out a lot around the farm, everything from feeding to milking and even helping in the new layer house.


Photo supplied by Boops

Doug’s aged cow, “Regina” was first place and honorable mention senior champion at the 2011 Premier National Junior Show.


Photo supplied by Boops

Matt had success at the show too. His senior three year old, “Riske,” was second.

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