A laid-back Brown Swiss named Groovy beat 205 other cows on Friday to win the 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show Supreme Champion Dairy Cow award.
The 1,400-pound cow owned by Hannah Balthaser of Bernville was named best cow of the seven breeds competing for the award. The Supreme Champion Dairy Cow title is considered the Miss Pennsylvania of the bovine industry.
“I’m excited to win,” Balthaser, 14, said while standing with her quiet cow. “I’ve had Groovy since she was born and I’ve never won anything this big.”
Judges spent the day evaluating all the cows then selecting a champion from each dairy breed. Led by their owners, these seven breed winners lumbered into the Equine Arena for the traditional parade of the Grand Champions. The cows moved slowly in a circle as the judges evaluated them.
When the judges announced their decision, the arena erupted in cheers. State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding helped present Balthaser with a purple and gold banner. She also won a $250 premium.
“We had less cows this year than at a typical Farm Show,” said Craig Williams, dairy show co-chairman. “These were all good cows out there. It was difficult for the judges to pick the supreme.”
Balthaser, a fifth-generation farmer, lives with her parents on a 400-acre dairy farm, where they milk 100 Brown Swiss and Holsteins and grow corn, alfalfa and soybeans.
The Hamburg Area High School freshman began entering Groovy in cattle shows when she was a calf. She said this is her fifth year to enter a cow in the Farm Show.
When Balthaser is not working on the farm or going to school, she takes ballet lessons. “I love Brown Swiss and ballet,” she said and laughed.
Also contending for the top award were an Ayrshire owned by Taylor Heeter of Juniata County; a Guernsey owned by Snider Homestead of New Enterprise; a Jersey owned by Wyatt Piper of Thomasville; a Holstein owned by Matt Stanton of Everett; a Milking Shorthorn owned by Kyle Kucas of Hatfield; and a Red and White owned by Lynette Gelsing of Womelsdorf.