That’s not just a quippy quote from the movie ‘Robots’, it was also the action plan for some dedicated adults wishing to bring more show ring knowledge and skills to young dairy exhibitors in the Southwest US. The idea of an organized dairy showing clinic with demonstrations about preparing, clipping and presenting show heifers had been tossed around last year, but really took hold in 2021 following a conversation at the Midwest Spring Jersey Show in Jefferson, WI.
Eleven-year-old Makayla Monk from Artesia, NM is a young dairy enthusiast that has fallen in love with showing cattle. She’s exhibited Holsteins, Red & Whites, and more recently, Jerseys. In her early days of showing – a couple of years ago – she and her mom, Patricia Yates Monk got to know Mark Brindeiro, a Hilmar, CA native who had relocated to Artesia. He came to the local Eddy County fair to help Makayla get her cattle ready and ended up doing the toplines for 19 other heifers that day.
Makayla eventually purchased a couple of Jersey heifers with outstanding type and great pedigrees, one of which – Miss Franchise Colton Venice, a Colton fall calf that traces back to WDE Supreme Champion TJ Classic Minister Venus – was good enough to go on the spring show circuit this year to Ohio and Wisconsin. They tied in with the Jersey lineup from Bos Dairy, fellow New Mexicans.
Venice had a good outing at both shows, and after the conclusion of the Jersey show in Wisconsin, Makayla, Patricia, Nicole Schirm and Kate Pirrung had the idea to put together a fitting and showing clinic for kids from the Southwest who aren’t fortunate enough to learn on the road like Makayla. They settled on a June date, and Patricia took hold of the organizing and started a Facebook page for the clinic to get the word out. Mark and Patricia started contacting potential sponsors and found a large group of people and companies that were delighted to help with the project – enough that the clinic would be held free of charge for the participants and provide them with a free lunch.
Next up was coordinating the panel of adults that would present for the kids. Dusty and Nicole Schirm, Kate Pirrung, Mark Brindeiro, Joe Pinedo and Rodney Hetts all agreed to share their knowledge with the kids. The registrations kept coming in and by the closing date, Mark and Patricia were astounded by the response. “We were hoping to get at least participated in the Southwest Dairy Clinic in Artesia, NM. 15 kids from the local area, and we ended up having 41 kids attend from New Mexico, Texas and Colorado”, Mark notes. “We had more dairy heifers at the fairgrounds that day than we usually do for the dairy show at our county fair!”
The event was held at the Eddy County Fairgrounds in Artesia, NM and one of the special features of this clinic was that the participants could bring their own project heifer to work on. “Unlike kids in the East and Midwest and where I grew up in California, there aren’t a lot of people in this area to learn from that go to the big dairy shows,” explains Mark. “We had kids show up with all different kinds of calves and all kinds of equipment. Some had steer halters on their dairy project calves. We were starting at a very novice level with most of them. But, boy, do they have a thirst to learn! My favorite part was seeing all the little kids with their notebooks writing down word for word what we said and what we were showing them!”
The day began with a wash rack tutorial given by Nicole Schirm – what products to use, how to wash, explaining how often to rinse or wash a show heifer, what was best for the hair. Then the group was split in two with half of the participants spending time with Nicole, Kate and Rodney as they went over basic daily heifer care and showmanship. The other half listened and watched as Dusty, Mark and Joe explained and demonstrated basic clipping techniques and explained various fitting supplies. The two groups switched spots and, then after a fabulous lunch, the youth competed against each other in a showmanship judged by Rodney Hetts.
Dusty and Nicole Schirm donated a Jersey summer yearling heifer, Josan Joel Kazoo, whose granddam is the WDE Grand Champion Page-Crest Excitation Karlie EX-95. All of the participants were eligible to win her if they agreed to the stipulation that she had to be exhibited at a sanctioned southwest dairy show before June 2022 (Panhandle South Plains Fair, Ft. Worth Stock Show, Texas State Jersey Show or any other Southwest Dairy Clinic staff approved show). The excited winner of this elite-pedigreed heifer was Savannah Trammell of Roswell, NM.
When the event wrapped up for the day, the adults seemed as pumped and enthusiastic as their young protégés. “It was really exciting to see the eagerness to learn from the kids. Sometimes I feel like we’ve all lost the passion to pass on our skills and knowledge to the next generation, but a day like today brings that passion back. I’d love to be involved in future clinics like this – it was really enjoyable!” comments Rodney. Dusty Schirm agreed, “It was such a fantastic experience for us to get to meet so many new and enthusiastic young people and their parents who enabled them to
be there with their heifers. Thank you to everyone that played a part in putting this together. The future is bright in New Mexico!”
“When Mark asked if we’d be willing to come down and do this clinic, we jumped on the idea. We’ve had so much fun getting new kids involved in showing. I love that we were able to see the kids get better as the day went on, but it was especially great to see the parents jump in and ask questions to learn as well”, noted Kate Pirrung.
Mark says that the plan is for the clinic to become an annual event with a date in early May to avoid the severely hot temperatures. He mentioned that this event already spawned a smaller mini-clinic a little later in the month where he oversaw hoof trimming, worming and explained some basic nutrition for heifers that needed some help in those areas. “The whole event was amazing and the turnout was mind-blowing! Getting that much star power to our small town and having them share their expertise with these kids was priceless. One of my favorite quotes from one of the parents was ‘I can’t believe you got all the people I always see on Cowsmo show coverage to come here!’ “ Mark notes happily.
It seems a seed has been planted in the region! We might as well end with another movie quote: ‘If you build it, they will come.’ This seems spot on with the young people and their supportive parents in the great Southwest and we look forward to seeing more of them on the national stage in years to come!
A feature article in our Early Summer 2021 issue written by Kathleen O’Keefe.