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Budjon-Vail Drm Sunshine-ET EX-95 2E

Holstein Association USA is thrilled to recognize Budjon-Vail Drm Sunshine-ET EX-95 2E as the 2023 Star of the Breed. The highest honor presented to a Registered Holstein, the award recognizes a cow who excels in both type and production.

Sunshine is bred by Tom and Kelli Cull of Budjon Farms and Peter Vail. She is currently owned by Tom and Kelli’s nephews Chandler and Calvin Bening of Arlington, Minnesota, who have found success with Sunshine in the Junior show ring. Sunshine calls Budjon Farms of Lomira, Wisconsin home.

“Sunshine is a gem of a cow to work with,” says Chandler Bening. “She’s a low maintenance cow that makes showing look easy. She has a tremendous amount of ‘ring presence’, her head is always high, and leads flawlessly and sets up beautifully.”

The seven-year-old cow qualified for the Star of the Breed award with her fourth lactation production record of 42,130 pounds of milk, 2,244 pounds of fat (5.3%); and 1,508 pounds of protein (3.6%).With a classification score of Excellent 95 2E, Sunshine also has exceptional type. She has an impressive list of showring successes, including being named Grand Champion Bred and Owned at the Midwest Spring National in 2021.

“I think the day she was Champion Bred and Owned at Spring Show was a huge highlight for her and a highlight for us, because anytime you can have a Champion Bred and Owned of a show, that’s awesome, especially at a national show of that caliber,” Kelli Cull says.

In 2022, Sunshine was Grand Champion and Reserve Supreme of the Junior Holstein Show at the North American International Livestock Exposition. Later that week, she went on to take home Senior and Grand Champion honors at the Mid-East Fall National Holstein Show before being named Reserve Supreme Champion. Sunshine’s second-place finish in the Aged Cow Class at the Midwest Spring National Show in 2023 qualified her for the Star of the Breed award.

The 2023 Star of the Breed will be recognized during Holstein Association USA’s 138th Annual Meeting at the 2024 National Holstein Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah this summer. To learn more or register for convention, visit For the full story on Sunshine, see the Spring 2024 issue of The Pulse.

About the Award

To be eligible for the Star of the Breed award, a cow must place in the top five in her class at a National Holstein Show, be in a herd enrolled in the TriStarSM program and have an official classification score. Once the eligible cows are determined, the following calculation is used to determine the award recipient: Combined Mature Equivalent (ME) Fat and Protein + Age Adjusted Classification Score x (Breed Average ME CFP/ Breed Average Age Adjusted Score).