No Bull

‘Steaks’ are high for freshman dairy showman.


Courtesy photo

John Brown, freshman, works with a dairy cow during a recent competition in Massachusetts. Brown placed second out of 14 states.

Cody Gibson, Sports Editor

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John Brown II, sophomore, participates in a different type of competition.

He shows dairy cattle at the county, state, and national levels. 

“My farm is located in Pittsylvania County, which is a little bit over an hour from campus,” Brown said. 

Brown has been showing cattle for more than a decade–about 12 years–but said he’s been around animals his whole life.

“I have around 20 show cattle spread out all over the place. There are about 15 at the house in the show barn, five at a farm in Virginia. We use all sexed semen, so we inseminate all of them,” Brown described.

Brown recently placed second out of 14 states and competitors in a show in Massachusetts. That contest was a competition in handling and presenting handling techniques. 

He picked the heifer that looked the best to him, and the judge scored based on how well Brown worked with heifers he’s never seen.

“There isn’t much preparation that goes into this contest since I wasn’t using my own animals,” he said. “I mainly have to get mentally prepared the morning of the show.”

He also was named Champion Holstein Heifer and  Champion Jersey Heifer at the Virginia State Fair Sept. 24.

“I represented our state Virginia, and they split us up into a group of four. The way the judge evaluated us is how well we represented the dairy heifer,” said Brown.

That contest was with his own heifers, and he entered both the Showmanship and Confirmation classes. For the showmanship, he used cows he has raised since birth. Confirmation is judged on the aesthetic quality of the animal–how it fits the ideal dairy heifer

Even though he competes against people from multiple counties and states, he said his nerves remain steady.

The events are not that stressful except when I’m getting ready to show, and the cow gets scared. She could fall and hurt herself. That’s the only stressful part I have, but when it comes time to show, I tend to get a little nervous,” Brown said.

Sometimes, he said, the heifers do get stressed. 

“There’s always different variables like long car rides that’ll stress them out because it’s hot and all,” he said. “So it’s just a matter of getting them to the show and getting them settled in.”

Brown, a business major, and also planning to minor in agri-science, has a possible show coming up in Oct. and a definite one in March.