March 15 2017 12:00 AM

The Hoard’s Dairyman judging contest played an important role in my personal cow judging story.

Twenty young 4-H’ers huddled around our leader’s dining room table on a Wednesday night judging the annual Hoard’s Dairyman Cow Judging Contest. This is a memory I will hold onto forever.

Our beloved 4-H dairy leader, Jan, would shout to get our attention to remind us that we only had two more minutes to make our decision on the Holstein cow class. Ten minutes later, we had all quieted down and two older boys in the group were now debating their placings. Little did I know that these school nights spent with my Wood Colony 4-H dairy group, tirelessly discussing rear udder height, dairyness, and depth of rib, would influence my college major, my collegiate dairy judging career, and ultimately, my path in life.

My passion for dairy judging was influenced heavily from my early involvement judging the Hoard’s Dairyman contest each winter of my youth. Not only did I enjoy the comradery with my friends in my 4-H club, but I was influenced by my 4-H dairy leader, Jan. His passion for helping youth succeed was second to none. Jan encouraged us to each have our own opinion but was strict about reaching a consensus. He taught us the ideal traits to look for when judging cows. The skills of dairy judging I learned from Jan and the Hoard’s Dairyman contest help me each time I give a set of reasons or analyze my herd.

When I see the Hoard’s Dairyman covers with the judging classes, I reminisce on the annual cow judging contest with my 4-H club gathered around the table debating placings. Thank you, Hoard’s Dairyman, for providing this contest which brings back the fondest memories and a firm foundation for a bright future in the dairy industry that I share with so many who participate.

Do not miss this opportunity! March 23, 2017, is this year’s deadline. Enter today!

Elise Regusci

Elise Regusci grew up on her family's farm in Modesto, Calif. Regusci attends Cal Poly University, majoring in dairy science with an agricultural communication minor. On campus, she is the Los Lecheros Dairy Club Ag Council representative and a member of the Cal Poly dairy judging team. Regusci is the current Brown Swiss Youth Ambassador and will be the 2017 Hoard's Dairyman summer editorial intern.