A fourth-generation California dairyman was presented with the U.S.’s highest recognition given to a dairy cattle show person when he was announced as the 81st recipient of the Klussendorf Award on Thursday afternoon.
Joey Airoso is the managing partner for his family’s farm that milks 2,600 registered Holsteins and farms 1,600 acres of alfalfa, corn, and wheat near Pixley, Calif. For almost 60 years, Airoso has exhibited cattle throughout the West Coast and made many trips to World Dairy Expo. Among his accomplishments over the years are several All-California winners, Western National champions, and All-American nominations. He has been recognized by his peers with the Al Hay Award at the Western National Show and was named the California State Fair Livestock Man of the Year in 2017.
A strong supporter of youth, Airoso and other South Joaquin Holstein Association members came together in 2012 to create a show after the Western Livestock Show was cancelled due to a lack of funding from the state of California. The Western Classic Dairy Show has since been held annually and has become the largest junior dairy cattle show in California.
Members of the Klussendorf Memorial Association nominate and vote on a recipient who most exhibits the attributes of the legendary showman Arthur Klussendorf, including character, sportsmanship, ability, and endeavor. They said of Airoso, “One would be hard pressed to find a more popular person showing cattle with his engaging personality and willingness to help anyone in need at a show.”