A gala celebration for the Friends of Expo was held December 6, 2012, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. "Cream of the Crop" was the theme of this year's banquet. Hundreds of the volunteer force that assist in hosting the world-class dairy industry event gathered for a relaxing social evening.

Four individuals were honored for their years of support and outstanding service to World Dairy Expo. They were selected from over 500 volunteers who help run the dairy cattle shows, commercial trade show, youth contests, school tours, educational venues and hospitality during the five-day show. The 2012 Friends of Expo honorees include: Robert Fourdraine, Nancy Solberg, Bonnie and Skip Bohse.

2012 World Dairy Expo Friends of Expo honorees (l to r):
Skip and Bonnie Bohse, Nancy Solberg and Robert Fourdraine.

Robert Fourdraine was recognized as a Friend of Expo for his assistance in implementing enhanced cattle health check-in procedures. Fourdraine's education and experience in animal identification and tracking systems has been invaluable to Expo. His support and leadership to assist World Dairy Expo and Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection partners in providing a modern, efficient cattle health check-in process for the world-class event translates into a better, more bio-secure environment for the dairy industry and attendees. Fourdraine is always willing to assist with extra check-in shifts and he provides a friendly, welcoming personality to cattle exhibitors when they arrive at the show.

Nancy Solberg was honored as a Friend of Expo for her many years of service to the dairy cattle show entry process. This Mauston native started working for Expo seasonally between jobs. After moving to nearby Fitchburg for her career, she continued to work for World Dairy Expo as needed. Her hourly workload capacity, careful attention to detail and cross referencing abilities has benefited the cattle entry process for many years. Solberg has assisted throughout the many cattle entry system changes, evolving from paper spreadsheets to the current computer software.

Bonnie Bohse started volunteering after her curiosity sparked a question to a friend about World Dairy Expo. That first question turned into many years of service, most recently as a host for the Virtual Farm Tours and Expo Seminars. Bonnie's husband, Skip, soon joined in to help as well. He utilizes his former high school football whistle blowing skill to assist as a volunteer in directing the tractor and tram to pick up visitors. Bonnie and Skip have both volunteered at World Dairy Expo, both earning their recognition as 2012 Friends of Expo.

World Dairy Expo is recognized as the premier international dairy cattle and trade show held each fall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. If you are interested in becoming one of Expo's volunteers, call 608-224-6455. Volunteer opportunities range from tram drivers to school tours to gift shop sellers. The 2013 World Dairy Expo will be held Tuesday through Saturday, October 1-5. Next year's theme is "Center of the Dairy Universe." Visit www.worlddairyexpo.com for additional information.