We revisit Jersey herd, Meadow Ridge Jerseys, who were featured in our Fall Special 2014 edition.
To compete at the highest level in the show game you must be a deep pocket, outside funded organization with highly paid professional fitters. And to do this on a consistent basis, the show herd must be bolstered by buying each year, every year.
That memo never arrived at Meadow Ridge Jerseys, the Riebe family of Cumberland, Wisconsin. With strains of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” playing in the background, the family farm operated by Roger and Darice Riebe, sons Mike and Mark and their spouses, daughter Tamala and family, and Roger’s brother Doug, not only competed with the “Big Boy’s” they have went about their business and hung up some amazing stats which would be the envy of any farm that loads up a trailer heading for Madison or Louisville.
At this past years All American Jersey show the Riebes doubled the amount of blue ribbons of the next closest exhibitor and their Senior two year old cow, Meadow Ridge Mac Spring, was the talk of the barn winning her class and being named Reserve Intermediate to the eventual Grand Champion cow in the open show. She also captured Champion Bred and Owned after being named Intermediate Champion of the Junior show two days before. Meadow Ridge Gentry Angie also had quite the trip to the bluegrass being named Junior Champion of the Junior show and Reserve of the open show. Meadow Ridge won both Junior and Senior Best Three Females and were named Reserve Premier Breeder of the show.
The Riebe family has had similar success at the World Dairy Expo winning the Premier Breeder banner three times and in 2014 both Breeder and Exhibitor banners in the heifer show made their way to their collection. Their success at the always tough Minnesota State Fair is even more amazing, winning Premier Breeder 12 of the last 13 years when they started showing there[TD1] . Similar accolades have followed them to the Wisconsin State Show where they have garnered both Breeder and Exhibitor banners 6 out of the last 10 years. Since 2008 the farm has accounted for a phenomenal 40 All Breed Access All-American nominations and since the next generation has started showing at the All American Junior shows three years ago [TD2] they have garnered 5 Junior All-Americans and 6 Reserves.
In preparation no outside help is used. All foot trimming, clipping, fitting and showing is done by the family, which stays in the barn with their cattle. No motel matadors on this crew.
The breeding program that has produced this success can be labeled as UNIQUE for sure. The Riebes subscribe to the theory of finding a cow as close to the ideal as they can get and using a son of that cow. Although A.I. is used some, most of the bulls used are purchased from leading breeders, from the breed’s finest cows. Here is just a partial list of bull mothers used at the farm over the last 45 years:
Mythical Sleeper, Empire Design Fancy, Homeridge Reliable Annette, Burlin Stars and Stripes, Waymar Patrick Nadine, Keepers Delight Lavender Lass, Elmvale Masters Kate, Bonnyburn Squire Koffee, Huronia Centurian Veronica, Hermitage Counciller Sheba, Electra Eternal Star, Avonlea D. Jude Karmel, Enniskillen Surville Maime, South Mountain Voltage Spice, Pine Haven SSM Marmie, Discovery Tequila Jewelene, and as stated previous this list is PARTIAL. The number of Grand Champion banners, Jersey Jug’s and Supreme Champion accolades these cows have won boggles the mind. A look at the pedigree of Meadow Ridge Mac Spring shows such cows as Glenamore Top Rachel, Ratliff Sambo Magnolia, Hollylane Treasure Jewel, Sleeper Empire Candy up close in the pedigree and bulls such as Sooner Centurian, Lester Sambo and Hollylane-R Response in the pedigree also. It would not be an overstatement to say that this incredible young cow has more All-Americans, Jug Winners and Royal Champions in her pedigree than any young cow competing today. Each breeding decision is made by mutual consent of Roger, Mike and Mark.
In 1925 Roy Riebe Sr. started farming with 17 Jerseys and a rented farm. In 1930 he bought his own farm, which is still in the family today. The original 160 acres has grown too nearly 1,000 acres owned and an additional 250 acres rented. Alfalfa, corn and a small amount of oats are raised to feed over 300 head of Jerseys on the farm. The farm sells from 35 head of replacement females a year as well as herd bulls to farmers in the area and they take an immense amount of pride in the number of young Jersey Farmers they have started.
For nearly 40 years the family has operated a county, state and federal licensed kennel, breeding and selling show quality Pomeranians, Shelties, Miniature American Eskimos, Cocker Spaniels, and German Shepherds.
As a sideline, Mike is also a bull rider. Mike began riding bulls in 2003 as an amateur in the Wisconsin and Minnesota Rodeo Associations where he made the Wisconsin Rodeo Cowboys Association (WRCA) state finals in 2004. He received his Pro Rodeo License in 2005 after his rookie year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). During his career as a PRCA bull rider, he qualified for the 2006 and 2009 Great Lakes Circuit Finals PRCA rodeos in Louisville, KY. He had five successful years in the PRCA. Even though he made circuit finals twice, his favorite rodeo moment came in 2009 after winning the bull riding event at the Heart of the North Championship Rodeo in Spooner, WI, which is very close to home, and all of his family members were there.
He also rode for the National Federation of Professional Bull Riders (NFPB) and Professional Championship Bull Riders Association (PCB), where he made their finals held in Chicago, lL, in 2007 and 2008. Rodeos and bull riding events took him across the Midwest as he traveled most weekends throughout the year while still working full time on the family dairy farm. He walked away from the sport in good health to raise a family with his wife Jaime and continues to work full time on the farm. In 2012 he and brother Mark started a successful seed dealership for Jung Seed Genetics. The dealership has grown fast and it keeps both of them extra busy.
While embracing the past this farm family looks forward to a future of breeding, showing and milking the finest in Jerseys. This future looks extremely bright from any angle.