Holstein breeders gather for state show

CALEDONIA, Minn. — Rain presented unique challenges as Holstein breeders gathered last week in Caledonia for their annual state show.

The junior champion female at the Minnesota State Junior Holstein Show was shown by Joseph Stransky, third from left. Annie Culbertson, center, showed the Reserve Junior Champion Female and Nathan Donnay, second from right, received honorable mention. They are flanked by dairy princesses who gave out the awards and judge Joel Phoenix of Cannington, Ontario.

CALEDONIA, Minn. — Rain presented unique challenges as Holstein breeders gathered last week in Caledonia for their annual state show.

All the doors and windows of barns were closed the evening of June 16 when a storm rolled through, but fans kept the air moving in the barns. Cattle prepped and ready for show were walked to the show arena under tarps to protect their up-dos and washing in the evening usually meant both the person and animal got wet, courtesy of Mother Nature. The grass between one of the barns where the cattle were housed and the Krech Arena where they were shown turned into a mud-puddle-pocked incline.

On the bright side, it wasn't too hot, said Nate Donnay, of Glencoe.

About 40 junior exhibited showed 23 cows and 74 heifers in the Minnesota State Junior Holstein Show on June 19. The Minnesota Red and White Show was June 18, and the Minnesota Holstein Association State Open Show was June 19. Holsteins in Quilt Country was the theme of the show, held at the Houston County fairgrounds. Joel Phoenix, of Cannington, Ontario, Canada, judged the junior show.

Anna Culbertson showed the grand champion female and Meghan Connelly showed the reserve grand champion female. Both are Olmsted County dairy princesses and 2014 Princess Kay finalists.


Donnay, 20, showed five animals in the junior show and earned honorable mention junior champion female with his winter yearling, who placed first in her class. He was second with his fall yearling and spring calf, and placed second and third with winter calves.

Donnay was named Distinguished Junior Member of the Minnesota Holstein Association earlier this year. The University of Minnesota junior is majoring in animal science. This summer, he is a sales and service intern for Accelerated Genetics. He is based in Caledonia but is working in the Ossian, Iowa, area. He is doing a little bit of everything with his diverse internship, including artificial insemination of dairy cows, Donnay said.

This week, he will be in Dubuque, Iowa, for the National Holstein Convention, where he will participate in Dairy Jeopardy, a dairy knowledge competition styled after the television game show.

After graduating from college, Donnay hopes to work in nutrition or artificial insemination.

He enjoys being involved in the dairy industry and showing cattle because he loves cows and the people who work in the industry.

The camaraderie among the people at the show was evident as several gathered in small groups, relaxing in camp chairs in the barn as the rain fell off-and-on during the June 19 show.

The Gruenes family of Eden Valley was busy during the show, readying cattle for the ring. Andy Gruenes, 11, showed MS Stranshome Guess-Red-Et in the winter heifer class. The Red and White Holstein was born Dec. 1. They bought her at the end of March. Since then, Andy has been working with the heifer.

He washes her every other day and walks her every day. At the show, he did her topline just so.


Gruenes said the heifer is pretty well-behaved.

After the Holstein show, his next show will be the Meeker County Fair, which is July 31-Aug. 3 in Litchfield.

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