A feature in our Summer 2021 issue written by Doug Urban.
The summer of 1975 was a memorable one for me and as an active 4-H and FFA member I was gone a large part of the summer attending conventions, dairy judging contests, the Wisconsin State Fair and cow shows. It was at the Wisconsin Championship Show in Shawano where I first saw an extremely tall, sharp dairy cow with an outstanding udder named Dunco Kayser Happy Barbara EX-94 DOM win the Grand Champion cow title as selected by judge Tom Nunes of California. At the halter was a petite woman named Barbara Kayser who led the 4-year-old daughter of Harborcrest Happy Crusader EX-92 GM. Later that year Happy Barbara placed first and was named Best Udder in class at the Central National Holstein Show in Madison with Barb at the halter once again. She was named All-American 4-Year-Old Cow in 1975, and was also a member of the 1975 All-American Honorable Mention Get of Sire and 1976 All-American Get of Sire by Harborcrest Happy Crusader EX-92 DOM. Her dam, a Good Plus-83 daughter of Our Black Diamond EX-91, was purchased at the Dunn County Hospital Farm dispersal and calved a month later with Barbara. Barbara had one daughter, Kayser Commander Happy Chiffon VG-88 by Arlinda Commander VG-88 GM. Alvin and Barb Kayser of Janesville were active members of the state and national Holstein Association. Barb would be seen for many years to come showing her prized Holsteins at District and State Holstein shows and World Dairy Expo. Barb said, “Barbara put us on the map. My love for the Holstein cow is still alive today. I still help with some of our local shows and at World Dairy Expo. I always took the show string to the shows and considered it my vacation even though I worked the whole time. When showing is in your blood, it’s there forever.”
At the same show in Shawano another Harborcrest Happy Crusader daughter Dicharl Happy Beauty EX-90, would top a group of 32 cows to win the Three-Year-Old class for Dianne and Charles Heike of Dicharl Holsteins in Mondovi, WI. It was the following year in 1976 at the Wisconsin Championship Show where Beauty would really shine. Denise Deaton-Tolzman reminisced, “My brother, Alan Deaton, family friend, LeRay Hass and I took a total of 4 heifers and yearlings to the Wisconsin Championship Show in Lancaster in 1976. We were tied next to Diane and Chuck Heike. I remember walking in and seeing Beauty and thinking wow, what a cow! Her name was more than appropriate. I remember Dianne and Chuck talking about their lone entry. Several of their fellow Buffalo County breeders had convinced them that Beauty was a gem. Dianne, with her nervous laugh, spent most of the day before the show talking about how many of hours of milk to put into Beauty. Show day came and Dianne helped us get our heifers to the show ring. Chuck gave Dianne a hug on the way to ring with Dianne leading Beauty. I remember Dianne saying something like, well here goes nothing. When she came back out after winning the class, Dianne and Chuck were beyond thrilled. It was all smiles when Beauty won Grand. What a fun day for them in Lancaster in 1976.” Beauty was later named the Grand Champion Cow of the show. According to the show report in the Wisconsin Holstein News, Dianne’s happy smile and “Happy Beauty” lit up the show arena and left a glow that made a warm spot for them both in the hearts of the audience, and a fitting climax for the largest State Show ever held, with 418 head paraded for Judge Richard Keene of New York. Dianne and Happy Beauty had continued success at the Central National National Holstein Show in Madison where she was first place Four-Year Old Cow and second Best Udder in class. Beauty was also a member of the 1975 All-American Honorable Mention Get of Sire and 1976 All-American Get of Sire by Harborcrest Happy Crusader EX-92 DOM. She had a daughter, Dicharl Stan Kerlee EX-91 who was sired by a Paclamar Bootmaker EX-94 GM son. Dianne passed away in 2007. She had partnered with her husband for 37 years to run a dairy farm and was known to wear many hats. She was very talented at showing dairy cattle and was an entrepreneur having several small businesses in Mondovi. She had an extensive collection of aprons and wrote about aprons having a book “My Grandma’s Aprons” published in 2003.
Another daughter of Harborcrest Happy Crusader was led by Cheryl Ehrke, a junior Holstein member from Fort Atkinson. Her cow, Ehrke Norma Happy Pamela EX-93, was born on the family farm and was out of Ehrke Kandy Astronaut Norma VG-88, a daughter of Paclamar Astronaut EX-90 GM. Pamela was first shown as a Three-Year Old in 1976 and was also a member of the 1976 All-American Get of Sire by Happy. In 1977, she placed second in the Four-Year Old Cow class and first Bred and Owned at the Central National Show in Madison. She later received recognition as High Honorable Mention Junior All-American. When asked about her cow’s personality Cheryl said, “The four animals that were used in the Get of Sire Class were notoriously attitudinal! I believe it took at least 45 minutes to picture them one year. Pamela always gave me a run for my money in the show ring. I was relieved when her class was over after fighting with her the whole time we were in the ring! It became evident to me that her attitude came from her udder being full of milk. She was actually very easy to work with when she wasn’t bagged for a show.” Cheryl said that Pamela’s legacy has carried on through her descendants. Current descendants of Pamela go back 16 generations. Of the more recent females scored, there were 5 Excellents and 14 Very Good. Cheryl farmed in partnership with her father Bill Ehrke for 10 years after graduating from UW-Madison with a degree in Dairy Science. She remained active with the Holstein Association by serving as a delegate to the National Holstein Convention and as a member of various Wisconsin Holstein Association committees. She was dairy superintendent for the Jefferson County Fair for many years and continues to work with 4-H and FFA youth. Her daughter, Cierra Ehrke-Essock continues the family tradition of showing and being involved with Registered Holsteins. Cheryl now works at Cheri’s Couture Custom Sewing and Design and is a Math Aide at Fort Atkinson Schools.
A fourth memorable Harborcrest Happy Crusader cow was shown by Jill Stump, a fellow 4-Her from Greenwood. Her mom, Dawn Stump found Clarkco Happy Verna EX-91 at friend and neighbors Hubert and Gerald Horn’s farm and Keith and Dawn Stump purchased her as a Three-Year Old for Jill and she came to Distinction Farm. Jill’s Grandpa John D. Wuethrich of Grassland Butter fame was good friends with Hubert Horn and they always sat together on the bottom bleacher at the show and watched Jill show Verna. Jill showed her and won showmanship several years in a row despite the fact that Verna was a handful in the early years. Jill recalls a time when they fed Verna a case of beer so that she could handle her in the show ring at the Clark County Fair. After winning first place in showmanship Verna laid down in the ring just as Jill was being handed the trophy. Jill said she was very embarrassed as several people tried to get her cow to stand up. Jill and Verna became good friends and Verna, when out on pasture, would come over and put her head down so she could get her head rubbed. 1978 was a very good year for Verna and Jill as Clarkco Happy Verna was Grand Champion at the District 4 Holstein Show and at the Junior Show at the Wisconsin State Fair. Later that Fall Verna was the second high-seller at the Tri-State Superstar Sale where she was sold to Allyn Brower of Winnebago, IL. The following year she was Grand Champion Female at the Illinois State Show. Jill later worked at Grassland Dairy Products for 28 years as Vice-President of Sales and Marketing. She now works with a herd of Wagyu cattle with Jim Hoskens at Baycroft Cattle Company in De Pere, WI where she markets meat to local Green Bay restaurants and sells embryos and semen all over the world.
The bull 14HO242 Harborcrest Happy Crusader was born in 1965 and was owned by Tri-State Breeders of Westby, WI. He was a son of Wis Ideal Crusader VG-GM and out of Harborcrest Maple Raven EX-93-3E a daughter of Raven Burke Ideal EX-GM. His granddam was the All-Time All-American show cow Harborcrest Rose Milly3E-97 GMD. “Happy” sired show winners all over the United States in the 1970’s, but I will always remember the joy that Barbara, Beauty, Pamela and Verna brought to these four women in Wisconsin during that time.