A feature article in our 2021 Early Spring Issue written by Kathleen O’Keefe.
Featured on our back cover is the 2020 All-American Holstein Spring Yearling BHHD Claim to Fame-Red and her dam, Rosedale PrettyFancy In-Red, who hail from the Vandyk-K Integrity Paradise family.
It was a fitting exclamation point to end a marvelous show season for BHHD Claim To Fame-Red when she was announced as the Supreme Champion Heifer at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY. She had cut a wide swath in the spring yearling class in 2020, in both red & white and black & white competition across the country, and was further rewarded with All-American Holstein Spring Yearling and Reserve All-American Red & White Spring Yearling titles at the conclusion of those contests.
For her owners, the McIsaac family of Petaluma, CA and the Price family of Chebanse, IL, there was more icing on the cake when she was named Unanimous Junior All-American Spring Yearling in both the Holstein and the Red & White junior contests. Fame just freshened the first week of March, and both families are excited about her prospects as a junior 2-year-old.
The BHHD prefix stands for Ballweg Hickory Hills Dairy, Fame’s breeder located in Dane, WI near Madison. In 2017, the Ballwegs attended the Rosedale Sale of Excellence looking for a good heifer, and they found her in Lot 63 – Rosedale PrettyFancy In-Red. An Armani fall yearling short bred to Diamondback, she sold along with her dam. Now typically, a red heifer carrying the Rosedale prefix would immediately bring to mind their world-famous Redrose family, but PrettyFancy In-Red actually hails from a different World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion exhibited by Rosedale – Vandyk-K Integrity Paradise EX-96 2E.
Nicole Ballweg Prochnow remembers seeing her at the sale. “We loved her pedigree and looking into the future, we thought she could make quite a cow because she was so correct.” She and her brother Brett bid last at the sale, and took Fancy home for $9,700. She calved in and proved them right, scoring VG-88 as a 2-year-old. She placed third in the Senior 2-Year-Old class at the International R&W Show in 2018 and was named HM All-American R&W Senior 2-Year-Old that year.
When it came time to flush Fancy, Kaleb Varrelmann, their ABS rep, suggested Luck-E Aristocrat-Red as a mating sire. That successful flush resulted in three heifers born in March 2019. All three were very correct heifers, but Claim To Fame was a standout from the start. That fall, she placed eighth in a large Spring Calf class at the International Red & White Show in Madison. At that same show, her dam Fancy (now partially owned by Joel Kietzman) won the Senior Three-Year-Old class on her way to being named Reserve All-American Senior 3-Year-Old for 2019. Fancy went home and maxed out at EX-92 in January 2020.
The Ballwegs had plans underway for an online sale to be run on CattleClub.com in late May 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic threw the spring show and sale season into disarray, but they determined they would carry on with their sale. That was a fortuitous decision for Jessica McIsaac of Petaluma, CA, who was looking to invest in a good show heifer.
Jessica remembers the sale marketing photos making an impact. “When I saw her pictures on CattleClub.com last spring with the BHHD Online Auction last May, she blew me away. There was a ¾-view shot specifically that showed her style and depth that was showstopping. I didn’t talk to anyone about it, and at that point, I wasn’t sure there were even going to be any shows or junior shows for her, but I knew I had to own her.” Brett Ballweg agrees that she was a highlight of the sale. “Nick Sarbacker and Ryan Krohlow both emphasized that she was the next-level kind of heifer – one that could win purple ribbons.” Brett admits that during the sale planning stage, they thought she could bring $12,000-$15,000, but with the uncertainty of last spring, they were satisfied with her $9,000 selling price. “It was one of the earlier sales after the lockdown, and we were happy that the sale went well.
Jessica was delighted to be the new owner of Fame and sent her to Prestige Genetics in Illinois while she formulated a plan for Fame. “Our family has owned a number of cattle with Joe & Amber Price and their family, and once she was there, we determined that she was a good fit to be another partnership animal for our kids to own together,” recalls Jessica. “In addition to being an outstanding individual, her pedigree adds a lot of value. We didn’t flush her as a heifer because we wanted her to keep moving forward during the show season, and she just matured so beautifully. We’re so excited about calving her in and seeing her hopefully take that next step!”
Fame put on plenty of miles during the 2020 show season. She made the trip from Illinois out to Richmond, Utah for the Western National Show, where she claimed plenty of rosettes as Junior Champion of both the Junior & Open competitions in the Red & White Show, Junior Champion honors in the Junior Holstein Show, and the Reserve Junior Champion title in the Open Holstein Show. “It was really neat to bring her out west to show. Richmond is our closest National Show, and since the Paradise family is one of the best to ever come out of the west, it was cool to bring her back ‘home’ for a show,” muses Jessica.
Joe & Amber Price have enjoyed the day-to-day care of Fame and Joe reports that she’s now calved as a junior 2-year-old. “She freshened in early March and, right now, looks tremendous. She’s got that incredible frame and her udder, fresh a day, looks great. She’s such an easy keeper with a really, really nice temperament, so she’s a pleasure to care for,” comments Joe. The Prices and McIsaacs were so impressed with Fame last fall that they went back to Ballwegs to purchase her full sister, BHHD Shes On Fire-Red, who is due June 1st to Eskdale Mr Aflame-Red, and she looks very promising right now as well.
Both Fame and Shes On Fire are potential 7th generation Excellents from the Paradise family: her EX-93 Armani dam (Fancy) X EX-93 Absolute X EX-93 *RC September Storm X EX-96 2E Paradise X EX-90 Broker X EX-94 2E Mark. She has two direct lines to KHW Regiment Apple-Red EX-96 4E through Armani and Absolute (sires of her dam and granddam) as well as through her sire Aristocrat (whose sire, Ammo P, and grandsire, McGucci both descend from Apple). The Paradise family hasn’t boasted of a large number of red members, but the use of September Storm *RC on Paradise brought the red gene into the mix.
Within a few days of Fame calving, her dam added another point to her score and Fancy is now EX-93. She has a 6/19 Ammo P daughter due to calve this spring and two 12/20 Altitude-Red heifers on the ground. She calved last August and Brett Ballweg says they’d like to get her pregnant this spring, and hopefully out to show at the Midwest Red & White Spring National Show before returning her to IVF. “She might just have more value to us staying home to flush if her daughters start calving in with great udders,” he concedes. They’re staying busy marketing some of her embryos (by Aristocrat, Moovin, Warrior, Unstopabull and Latenite) in sales this spring.
They’ve also just announced the BHHD Online Auction II to be held May 8th, 2020. Could lightning strike twice from Fancy? Possibly! They will be selling daughters and hope another could have a tremendous year like Fame. “It’s been great seeing how well Fame has done for the McIsaacs and the Prices. We love to work with elite cattle and want to work with elite people as well,” comments Brett. Nicole agrees, “We’re always so excited to see other do well with cattle we’ve bred. It’s even more rewarding than having great results with them ourselves!”