By Mary Spicer
FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP —
For 10-year-old Lexie Moore, winning a registered Holstein calf of her very own in Crawford County Holstein Club’s 2012 Calf Ring has continued to be a winning experience. Such a winning experience, in fact, that she’s urging others to give it a try.
In the 4-H competition at the recently-completed Crawford County Fair, for example, Lexie took first in showmanship — putting the exhibited animal through its paces in the show ring — and second in fitting — grooming the exhibited animal to bring out all its best features. To make things even better, Molly, Lexie’s 6-month-old heifer — a female ruminant mammal of the genus Bos who won’t, in case you were wondering, qualify to be called a cow until she’s given birth to her first calf — made a respectable showing herself in the “type” competition.
In other venues, just a week before the Crawford County Fair Molly ranked fifth out of a field of 43 competitors during her first outing at the Lawrence County Fair. During the recently-completed All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Lexie (and Molly) went into the ring against 150 competitors from 15 states including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and California to place 10th in the Junior Showmanship Contest. Molly also placed fifth out of 20 competitors for best Holstein in her category.
Here’s how the contest works. Each year since 1999, the club has given registered Holstein calves to one or more winners of its annual essay contest, depending on the number of available calves. The winner(s) in turn agrees to show the heifer at the first eligible Crawford County Fair, breed the heifer to a registered Holstein bull and return the cow’s first registered Holstein calf to the club to be donated to another essay winner.
Over the years, a total of 24 calves have been received by 24 essay winners. Twelve of those winners have returned their first heifer calf to be given to another winner, 10 calves have been donated by Crawford County Holstein breeders and five winners are waiting for heifer calves to be born.
The winner of the 2013 contest will receive a white calf that was born during, but not at, this year’s Crawford County Fair. The calf is being returned by Chandler Hazlett, winner of the 2011 contest.
A calf’s tale
For Lexie, the adventure started almost a year ago when she submitted an essay to Crawford County Holstein Club, explaining in 100 words or less why she would like to own a calf and how she would care for it. In addition to writing an essay and submitting it by the Oct. 1 deadline, the only other requirements were to be between the ages of 8 and 13 on Jan. 1 of this year and willing to join the Crawford County Jr. Holstein Club or a 4-H club in Crawford County. Done, done, done and done — and Molly was hers.
“I’d only showed my uncle’s cows and I wanted to see what it was like to have my own cow,” Lexie said during a recent interview. “It’s working out good.”
Molly lives with the rest of the cows belonging to Lexie’s uncle, Don Hart, at The Hart Farm on Route 285 in Fairfield Township near Cochranton.
“Having my own cow is a lot more responsibility,” the Cochranton Elementary School fifth-grader continued. “You have to buy the grain and all that stuff — you just get to do a lot more stuff if it’s your cow. ... It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.” The “more stuff” includes feeding, watering, cleaning the pen, making sure it stays healthy and washing the cow — a lot.
During the summer, Lexie was at the farm with Molly every day. Now that school’s started, the young athlete who participates in volleyball, basketball and softball is there before or after practice.
Jeff and Brenda Raney, owners of J-RA Holsteins in Adamsville, donated Molly to the program. Now they’re keeping a proud eye on her progress as she and Lexie make a name for themselves in junior Holstein circles.
“It’s thrilling for us when someone like Lexie has such a love for animals and is willing to put in such a large effort,” Brenda Raney said during a recent interview.
The Raneys been involved in the Calf Ring for about a decade.
“It’s given a lot of kids an opportunity who might not have been able to have a calf themselves,” she said. “We were thrilled to be able to do it this year.”
The thing that will thrill Eleanor Kalinowski of the Crawford County Holstein Club most will be to have a fierce competition for this year’s calf. As organizer of the annual contest, she’s hoping that Lexie’s success with her heifer — and her enthusiastic support of the program — will inspire a large pool of applicants this time around.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to win a registered Holstein calf
In order to qualify, you must be between the ages of 8 and 13 on Jan. 1, 2014, and willing to join the Crawford County Junior Holstein Club or a 4-H club in Crawford County.
If you meet those requirements, explain in an essay of 100 words or fewer why you would like to own a calf and how you would care for it. All interested applicants must be available for an interview with a panel of judges.
If you are chosen to win the registered Holstein calf, you must do three things: Show the calf at the first eligible Crawford County Fair; breed your heifer to a registered Holstein bull; and return your cow’s first registered Holstein heifer calf to the Crawford County Holstein Club to donate to another child.
The deadline for submitting an entry is Oct. 1.
All interested applicants should send their essays to Crawford County Holstein Club, in care of Eleanor Kalinowski, 2013 Route 173, Cochranton, Pa. 16314.