The annual Wisconsin Holstein Junior Convention was hosted by the Rock County juniors in Janesville, Wis., at the Holiday Inn, December 28-30, 2012. Over 500 Holstein members, chaperones, and volunteers were in attendance to help make the weekend a huge success.

Throughout the convention, junior members participated in numerous contests, including Dairy Jeopardy, Dairy Bowl, speaking, arts and crafts and photography. The largest competition of the weekend was Dairy Bowl, in which 28 junior, 22 senior, and 11 rookie teams competed.

WI Holstein Association logoOver 50 volunteers helped coordinate Dairy Bowl matches, Dairy Jeopardy contests and the speaking contest. At the end of the Dairy Bowl contest, an undefeated junior team from Manitowoc County and an undefeated senior team from Green County earned the honor to represent Wisconsin at the 2013 National Holstein Convention. Manitowoc County's team members included Sanne de Bruijn, Jake Siemers, Josh Siemers and Connor Siemers. Green County's team was comprised of Sara Harn, John Klossner, Joel Dieckhoff and Bryan Cramer. Coming in second place in the junior division was Dane County and Vernon County finished second in the senior division.

For teams to be seated in the Dairy Bowl contest, they must take a written exam on the first day of convention. Those individuals scoring highest are recognized with awards. High scores in the junior division this year went to Sanne de Bruijn of Manitowoc County with Allison Breunig and Joey Opsal of Dane County finishing second and third. Recognized for high scores in the senior division were Jordan Siemers of Manitowoc County, Carrie Warmka of Dodge County, and Katie Wendorf of Vernon County.

All juniors at convention had the chance to compete in the Dairy Jeopardy competition. The top competitor in each of three age brackets has the opportunity to compete at the National level in Indianapolis this July. Qualifying this year was Jake Siemers in the junior division, Jordan Siemers in the intermediate division, and Rachel Hartlaub in the senior division. All three winners are from Manitowoc County. Placing second and third in the junior division were Dawson Nickels of Dodge County and Lauren Siemers from Manitowoc County. In the intermediate division, Lizi Endres of Dane County took second, and Logan Voights of Lafayette County was third. In the senior division, Cassie Endres of Dane County and Sara Harn of Green County placed second and third, respectively.

In the speaking contest, Wisconsin can send up to three delegates in each division to compete at National Convention. To compete, youth must prepare a speech on a topic related to the dairy industry at a length assigned to their specific age division. Heading to National Convention this year are Reece Lehman of Trempealeau County, Connor Siemers of Manitowoc County, and Ava Booth of Sheboygan County in the junior division. Jessica Pralle of Clark County, Crystal Siemers-Peterman of Manitowoc County and Charlie Hamilton of Grant County qualified in the intermediate division. Representing the senior division will be Kaitlyn Riley of Crawford County, Morgan Behnke of Green County and Taylor Moret of Crawford County.

On Saturday evening, the annual banquet was held to honor outstanding juniors in the association. Mitch Kappelman and Cara Biely both of Manitowoc County claimed the most prestigious honors, being named Outstanding Holstein Boy and Girl. These individuals have excelled in their Junior Holstein programs and have been an asset to the Association and dairy industry as a whole. Also receiving honors were 15 other Distinguished Junior Members, 13 Younger Member Recognition winners, and 12 Twelve & Under Recognition winners, all of which excelled in their Wisconsin Holstein activities in 2012.

Of the exceptional youth recognized, four representatives in the Distinguished and Younger Member categories were selected to submit award forms to the national competition with hopes of being recognized in Indianapolis this July. Breinne Hendrickson of Green County, Katie Wendorf of Vernon County, Cara Biely of Manitowoc County and Charles Hamilton of Grant County were all chosen to represent Wisconsin as Distinguished Junior Members. The Younger Member delegates include Austin Nauman of Monroe County, Katie Bauer of Waupaca/Waushara Counties, Carley Krull of Jefferson County and Brooke Trustem of Rock County.

The 2013 Wisconsin Holstein Princess and Princess Attendant were also crowned at the banquet on Saturday evening. This year, Morgan Behnke of Green County will serve as the WHA Princess, and Crystal Siemers-Peterman of Manitowoc County will join her as the WHA Princess Attendant.

Special recognition is given to youth leaders that have been nominated by youth in the Junior Holstein Association and selected by the Junior Activities Committee. This year's WHY (Wisconsin Holstein Youth) Friends were Janina Siemers of Manitowoc County in the five years and under division and Trish Hoesly of Green County and Randy & Darla Schiferl of Wood County, both in the six years and over division.

Wisconsin Holstein awarded $8,000 in scholarships this year. A scholarship auction was held to raise funds for awards again in 2013. Donated items either auctioned off or included in the silent auction were horse and cattle clippers from Andis, UW-Madison Men's Hockey tickets donated by Ted and Sandy Halbach, a certificate for a Bonnie Mohr print and three sets of UW-Madison Men's Basketball tickets donated by Corey Geiger and Krista Knigge, the Rob Rippchen family and Danielle Brown, respectively. A Paul Molitor signed baseball from Mary Knigge, NASCO show package, quilt by Joseta Halbur, Steiger 600 Replica Pedal Tractor and remote control tractor from Case-IH, a two-night stay at the Kalahari Resort and a show box for dairy exhibitors made up the list of items that raised nearly $2,500 for the WHA scholarship fund this year. High school seniors, short course, and two and four year college students that are members of WHA are all eligible for these scholarships awarded each year. A special thank you to all the loyal scholarship supporters!

Throughout the convention, youth were recognized for other outstanding achievements, including Junior Progressive Breeder and Long Range Production animals producing 100,000 to over 200,000 pounds of milk over their lifetime.

The Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association awards interested juniors the opportunity to travel to an area of the state to tour dairy farms and learn from their operations as well. The 12 Trip Award winners were Kristin Broege of Rock County, Sara Griswold of Dane County, Charles Hamilton of Grant County, Sara Harn of Green County, Andy Helmer and Kelly Jens of Sheboygan County, Devin Kepler of Richland County, Valerie Kramer, Matthew Kramer and Darren Kamphius of Fond du Lac County, Jessica Pralle of Clark County and Nicole Wright of Jefferson County. The group will be traveling the state early this spring.

The annual essay contest encourages members to write about assigned topics relating to today's dairy industry. The top junior individual for this contest was Brittany Vanden Heuvel of Outagamie County with Hunter Crowley of Winnebago County and Marcus Schroepfer of Langlade County receiving second and third respectively. In the senior division, Stephanie Nagel of Manitowoc County was first with Kati Kindschuh and Valerie Kramer of Fond du Lac County rounding out second and third.

The convention concluded Sunday morning with an awards breakfast and the annual business meeting, where four new Junior Activities Committee (JAC) members were elected. The JAC group is responsible for coordinating and overseeing all junior events within the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association. Selected this year for the southwest district was Sean Brown of Iowa County, Cassi Miller of Wood County for the northwest district, Cassy Krull of Jefferson County for the southeast, and Rachel Hartlaub of Manitowoc County for the northeast. These members will serve a two-year term as JAC's, and join the current second-year members. Nicholas Schuster of Fond du Lac County was voted JAC Chair for 2013, Ryan Pralle as Vice-President from Clark County, John Klossner as Secretary from Green County and Andrea Pagenkopf, Finance from Grant County.

The contest room is always fun and a great way to show off projects created by junior members throughout the year. In the advertising contest, members submit advertisements they ran in the Wisconsin Holstein News. Winners in the junior division were Brooke Trustem of Rock County, Cole Booth of Sheboygan County and Kelsey Cramer of Green County. In the senior division, Kayla Krueger of Waupaca/Waushara Counties and Nicholas Schuster of Fond du Lac County and Elizabeth Sarbacker of Dane County were recognized. Taking people's choice honors were Brooke Trustem in the junior division and Nicholas Schuster in senior.

In the photography contest's farm people photos, Sara Griswold of Dane County, Emily Steger and Jessica Steger of Crawford County were recognized. In the senior division, Alyssa Cramer of Green County, Valerie Kramer of Fond du Lac County, and Elizabeth Sarbacker of Dane County had photos that received top honors. People's choice awards went to Emily Steger in the junior division and Alyssa Cramer in senior.

In photography's farm animal category, Sam Minch of Wood County took first, while Joey Opsal of Dane County received second and Jessica Steger received third in the junior division. Excelling in the senior division were Elizabeth Sarbacker of Dane County, Valerie Kramer of Fond du Lac County and Charlie Hamilton of Grant County. People's choice honors went to Hope Petersheim of Vernon County in the junior contest and Elizabeth Sarbacker of Dane County in senior.

Wrapping up the photography contest was the farm scene category, where Hunter Crowley of Winnebago County took first and Joey Opsal of Dane County and Ava Booth of Sheboygan County came in second and third respectively. Valerie Kramer of Fond du Lac County took first and Bryan Cramer of Green County and Charlie Hamilton of Grant County rounded out the senior division. People's choice awards went to Ava Booth and Charlie Hamilton.

The juniors got creative in the arts contest, and taking top honors in the junior division were Hannah Nelson of Pierce County, Abriana Errthum of Grant County and Rachel Nigh of Vernon. In the senior division, Andrew Greenfield of Fond du Lac County was the top individual and Tina Barton of Lafayette County took second and third in the contest. Hannah Nelson and Andrew Greenfield received the people's choice awards.

Also bringing out creativity were those in the crafts contest. Levi Kindschi of the District 5 Juniors, Abriana Errthum of Grant County and Kenni Bores of Wood County were the top individuals in the junior division, while Kayla Krueger received top honors in the senior division. People's choice winners were Paige Nelson and Kayla Krueger.

Each county is encouraged to submit a scrapbook of their activities throughout the year. These books are judged and awards are given to the top three counties. This year, Wood County earned top honors, and Green and Vernon Counties followed closely in second and third place.

Individuals developed display boards to highlight activities or subjects within the dairy industry. First in the junior division was Courtney Moser of Vernon County, second was Emily Makos of Green County, and third was Emily Bauer of Waupaca/Waushara Counties. Courtney was also named people's choice winner in this contest. First in the intermediate division was Courtney McCourt of Fond du Lac County, second was Katie Bauer of Waupaca/Waushara Counties, and third was Valerie Kramer of Fond du Lac County. Katie Bauer was the People's Choice winner in the intermediate division. In the senior contest, Tina Barton of Lafayette County received first and people's choice.

New to the contest room in 2013 was the State Banner contest. The winning entry by Sheboygan County will go on to represent Wisconsin at the 2013 National Convention. Taking second place was the District 5 Juniors and third to Green County.

One of the most coveted awards, based on participation throughout the year and enthusiasm, is the Spirit award, which was given to the Dodge County members. This year's award was sponsored by the District 5 Juniors who were recipients of the award in 2011. The Bell-R-Ring contest was won for a second year in a row by Sheboygan County.

The Wisconsin Holstein Association would like to commend the Rock County Junior Holstein Association members and chaperones, and extend a special thank you to all volunteers that helped make the weekend a success!

The Association would also like to thank our junior raffle sponsors: MilkSource Genetics, Accelerated Genetics, ABS Global, Inc., Alta Genetics, CRV, International Protein Sires, East/Central Select Sires, Semex, NASCO, Animart, Agri-View, The Country Today, Wisconsin Holstein News, Hoard's Dairyman, Cattle Connection, Holstein World, UW-Madison Badger Dairy Club, UW-River Falls Dairy Club, WI State Farmer, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Confections for Any Occasion by Joel, Wander Springs Golf Course and World Dairy Expo.