Junior dairy competition is tough but fun

The Western Canadian Dairy Classic teaches young producers clipping, grooming, showmanship and dairy science

OLDS, Alta. — When more than 100 young people come together for a cattle show the competition is tough but the atmosphere is full of fun.

The Western Canadian Dairy Classic junior dairy show has been running for 35 years and is open to young people aged 12 to 21 from the four western provinces. Some come year after year after a selection process in their home province.

This year, the event was held in Olds, Alta., from Aug. 20-24. The juniors learned clipping, grooming, showmanship and dairy science where they are taught about animal health and nutrition.

Navi Schalin of Enderby, B.C., has only come twice. Last year she was junior champion showman and this year she won the grand champion banner in the conformation class.

“I love coming here to learn new things and meet new kids,” she said.

She admits to a case of nerves as the judge started to eliminate contenders from the ring. Her calf was misbehaving and she was sure it would affect her results.

“I couldn’t keep her still and I was panicking a little bit. I thought, ‘oh no, he is looking at me.’ My goal was to set her up nicely so the judge could see how nice she really is.”

Schalin is a member of the Milky Way Dairy 4-H Club and at 14 she is a show enthusiast attending five or six shows a year.

She prefers grooming cattle and would like to attend the big events like the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto or World Dairy Show in Wisconsin.

“My goal is to work for someone who does really well at the Royal,” she said.

Her next show was scheduled for the last week of August at Armstrong, B.C.

Her family runs Schalin Holsteins and uses robots to milk about 350 cows.

Reserve grand champion was Cheyanne Haak of Enderby and honourable mention was Leighton Slingerland of Diamond City, Alta.

Grand champion showman was Martin Rypma of Abbotsford, B.C.

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