Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade
Special Sections Editor
Jessica Rose Spangler
With less than a month till opening ceremonies, preparations are in full swing for the 50th annual All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pa.
Lolly Lesher, who works with promotion and publicity for the All-American since 1992, said that each year, the show improves. With the golden anniversary, the show is looking to celebrate the great cows and people who have made the show a success.
“Cows are the highlight of the show,” she said. “There is pomp and circumstance at other place, which is fine, but we focus on what we think is important.” Lesher explained regarding the show’s reputation as an exhibitor-friendly show.
For six days, Harrisburg will become the center of the dairy showing world as more than 3,000 dairy cows and heifers will cross the tanbark in one of the rings for the All-American’s open show, Premier National Junior Dairy Show, the Pennsylvania Junior Dairy Show and the Pennsylvania Holstein Fall Championship Show.
In addition to the quality shows and annual events, several unique activities will be a part of the week. The All-American will host the National Dairy Shrine Banquet on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Dairy producers, scientists, students, educators, marketers and others will be celebrated for their work preserving and strengthening the dairy industry.
Other special events include the All-Dairy Antiques and Collectibles Show and sale, a youth benefit auction, dairy oxen demonstration, free exhibitor dinner hosted by dairy promotion groups, and the Eastern Elite Sale All Breeds Edition.
From Humble Beginnings <\n>to National Standing
The show started out from a simple idea of several Pennsylvania dairy farmers and leaders.
Obie Snider and former Pennsylvania Holstein Association Executive Director William Nichol hatched an idea on a long trip home from the 1960 National Dairy Show in Waterloo, Iowa. The idea: a national dairy show based in Pennsylvania, featuring the best cows from the East Coast.
They enlisted the help of several strong breed industry leaders, including Ayrshire breeder Cuthbert Nairn and Milking Shorthorn breeder Sam Yoder, who brought the show to fruition just four years later. With funding included in the 1964 Pennsylvania state budget, the All-American Dairy Show was born.
From that moment on, the show became a sensation as more competitors and better cows came to the show year after year.
“The quality of the animals seems to improve,” Lesher said. “The greatest thing is that dairy families get to come together year after year. It’s like reunion time. In the show ring, they can be competitive, but they are supportive of each other.”
What makes the All-American so attractive to dairy farmers and competitors, Lesher said, is that the show focuses on the cows and the historic farm families that return year after year.
When asked whether Lesher thought the founding fathers of the show would be proud of how it had turned out, Lesher was quick to agree.
“I think Obie Snider and Sam Yoder — Sam will be at the show, I believe — would be delighted,” she said. “Their goal was to have a place to exhibit the best cattle. It’s a place to share and learn from each other.”
Youth a Key Component <\n>of the All-American
While the 50th supreme champion of the open shows won’t be selected till Thursday, Sept. 12, the 10th supreme champion of the Premier National Junior Shows will be awarded on Monday, Sept. 9.
The All-American is internationally renowned for its commitment to dairy youth. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Premier National Junior Events. This outstanding showcase will feature showmanship, dairy judging and management contests, breed shows, and other fun youth activities.
To help celebrate 10 successful years, Patti Hushon, chair of the PNJS, and her team have organized numerous events, awards, and special giveaways for participating juniors.
“At the opening ceremonies on Sunday afternoon ... we are giving away over $35,000 in gifts from over 20 agribusinesses and calves, one in each breed, from deep pedigreed families and nationally/world known breeders. The breeders will be present to present the calves,” Hushon said.
Five of the seven calves have been named thus far, with the announcement of the Red and White and Ayrshire calves coming in future weeks. Calves include:
Brown Swiss: Top Acres QS Winner, born June 20, 2013, donated by Wayne and Connie Sliker of St. Paris, Ohio.
Jersey: Getaway From Maitai, born Oct. 3, 2012, donated by Michele and Jeff Reasner of JEMI Jerseys, Newburg, Pa.
Milking Shorthorn: NIXS Juke Box, born Sept. 8, 2012, purchased by Jake Skinner, Red Crest Farm, Mercersburg, Pa., to be used for a donation.
Guernsey: Snider Laredo Athena, born March 19, 2013, donated by Snider Homestead Farm, the Gable Family of New Enterprise, Pa.
Holstein: Windy-Knoll-View Proctor, born March 2013, donated by Windy Knoll View Farm, the Burdette Family of Mercersburg, Pa.
Another highlight of this year’s tenth anniversary is the waive of late fees for junior exhibitors through Aug. 31.
With 26 confirmed donating agribusinesses, participating junior members have the chance to win dozens of randomly awarded prizes, including show supplies, free print ads, digital cameras, gift certificates, embroidered jackets, semen, and more.
On top of all that, juniors can expect to receive the highest premiums at any national junior show.
Volunteers Make It Happen
Whether the task is large or small, the volunteers at the All-American have worked a multitude of long hours throughout the years to make the show an enjoyable experience for everyone.
The show will honor its volunteers, past and present with an appreciation reception during the 50th anniversary celebration Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.
Lesher said that because the show only has one or two paid staff members, volunteers and the work they do is absolutely critical.
“Our success is based on great volunteers,” Lesher said, “and thankfully we have those.”
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The 2011 Team Patti members with Agriculture Secretary George Greig.