The Tanbark Trail
Whether at a local level or nationally, from the first shows ever held up through today, shows have been a means for breeders to promote their cattle to other breeders. It is an important part of marketing that can also be the fun part of dairy farming.
Shows are common around the world-North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In the Brown Swiss breed, it starts with the local canton show, then state shows and fairs on up to regional and national shows. The first national show was held over 100 years ago and they are still going strong today.
Seven National Shows
Currently the National Association hosts seven national shows from coast to coast in the US. They are held in Sacramento, CA; Puyallup, WA; Harrisburg, PA; West Springfield, MA; Madison, WI; Stillwater, OK; and Louisville, KY. The International show, held as part of World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, is the largest show. Each year, more than 300 head of Brown Swiss are shown and the show attracts visitors from around the world.
One of the most important programs connected to showing is the All-American program. Each year, an All-American, a Reserve All-American and an Honorable Mention All-American animal or group is selected for each of the 19 different show classes. The winners are selected based on the current year’s show winnings from national shows or any of 30 qualifying shows in U.S. and Canada. Being named All-American is a great honor and adds to the pedigree value of the animal and her family.
One of the most important aspects of showing is the youth involvement. Showing is a learning experience that is both competitive and fun. For most people in the dairy industry, their love of the dairy cow, work ethics, and goals in life were cultivated at a young age by showing a calf at the local fair.