For me, my favorite cow was quite ordinary. Her name was Hickory. I couldn’t tell you what bull she came out of, or her dam. She didn’t have a pre-fix, because she was merely a grade.
But to this first-year 4-Her, she was the most extraordinary heifer.
We only got third place our first time in the ring (she was a January 26th winter heifer), but you would have thought that I had won the whole show. As a yearling, we won our class and was named Jr. Champion. I also won Showmanship, and I got to go to Showman of Showman with her. It was that year when I decided that Dick Lewis was my favorite judge, after he told me, “it’s too bad she’s not registered, because she would do very well at other shows.”
Hickory gave me two heifers, Clover and Alfalfa, and I was looking forward to Fescue being born my last year in 4-H. As a 2-Year-Old and a 3-Year- Old, Hickory won her cow class, but we couldn’t get any higher than Reserve Grand Champion. So, when Mark Liming retired his show cow, “Tammy,” I knew it was our year to shine, because she was the one that always stood ahead of us in the ring.
Hickory was due to calve a month before the county fair. Unfortunately, we lost her due to complications during delivery and her heifer was born dead. It was a devastating moment for me, because it was the first time I had to deal with the loss of one of my favorite cows. Today, I still have a very special place in my heart for Hickory. It is because of her that I have such a love for dairy cattle, a passion for dairy judging and a dairy-farming husband that I cherish.
You see, great cows are not always defined by pedigrees, production, high scores or blue ribbons. They are also defined by the legacy and memories that they leave behind.