4-H Dairy Invitational the “Best One-day Show Possible”

The 10th annual BRITESPAN 4-H Dairy Invitational Show took place on August 6th in Lucknow, Ontario.  This year’s show was another success with 144 exhibitors competing and the stands full with spectators. The show was sponsored once again by BRITESPAN Building Systems, a local company that sells rapidly installed, versatile cover-all buildings, including dairy cow pens and stalls.  I was glad to have the opportunity to attend the show and learn from the competitors and organizers. A lot of energy goes into this one-day event. Read all about the event, and why it is such a great experience, below!
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The show started in 2003 when seven organizers decided they wanted to start up a local 4-H dairy show in Lucknow. Their goal was to have a one-day show with all the grandeur and excitement of bigger shows that usually last two or three days. They recruited the help of Diamond Show sponsor Ben and Jenny Hogervorst, owners of Cover-All Building Systems (now BRITESPAN Building Systems) who were more than happy to help. The first show took place the following August with 47 exhibitors and has been growing ever since. Over the last ten years, each year the show has stayed true to the original mission of being “the best one-day show possible where every 4-H Member was glad to have been there”.

Exhibitors lining up before entering the ring
Exhibitors lining up before entering the ring

This year, the show had exhibitors from 14 different counties, some competitors driving three hours to attend. Two friends, Greg Fuller and Matthew Finch, from Dorchester area, got up at 3 a.m. in order to load their calves and be on the road in time to show. Greg and Matthew agree that the early morning was worth it. “There is a big hurry to get everyone ready and then pressure to perform well in the show. It can be stressful but it’s a rush – a good rush,” Matthew explains. The general consensus among exhibitors is that the show is both a great learning experience and a fun event. Landon Smith, a Perth 4-H Member, certainly enjoys the show. “I have lots of friends who show dairy cows, so the show is a bit of a social event for me, and I like competing,” he explains.

The best one-day show possible where everyone was glad to have been there.

The show provides a learning experience that goes beyond just getting the chance to show. “The local Lucknow Dairy Club is involved in the setting up and the clean up of the whole show.  So they are learning a little about volunteering and organizing. Often some of the Members continue to help out with the show after their 4-H years are completed,” one of the show organizers, Perry Van Osch explains. The show organizers invite an official judge each year that has strong showmanship skills to judge the competition. This judge takes the time to speak with each of the exhibitors on what they can do to improve next time they go into the ring. The show takes place early in the show season to provide feedback to 4-H Members. This gives them a chance to build on their skills so they can become stronger competitors later in the season.

One exhibitor with her project heifer
One exhibitor poses with her project heifer

This year the judge was Bruce Sayles. Andrew Den Haan acted as ringman keeping the cows in line and lending a hand to some of the younger competitors when needed. Announcer Glen McNeil, President of Holstein Canada, entertained the spectators with general information and comments about the show, interviews with show supporters, and draws. Ben Hogervorst, owner of BRITESPAN, and Kelly Thompson, BRITESPAN marketing manager, also attended the show.

The Grand Champion Showperson was Linda Franken of Huron 4-H Association, Reserve Champion Showperson was Travis Canning of Wellington 4-H, and Honourable Mention went to Chris Stevens of Lambton 4-H Association. Grand Champion Heifer went to Darlene Lobb of Huron 4-H Association, Reserve Champion Heifer went to Travis Canning and Honourable Mention to Linda Franken.

Two competitors in their show outfits
Two competitors in their whites

All in all it was a good day for everyone. “The committee just wanted to put on a good quality 4-H show and have been blown away with the results of the numbers attending, the feedback and the number of counties that have been represented to this date,” Perry explains.  With yet another successful show finished and all exhibitors having learned something new, I think its sufficient to say that the 10th annual BRITESPAN 4-H Dairy Invitational Show was an excellent event! Click to view more photos from the show.