Westcoast Holsteins comes to Expo each year from one of the greatest distances away, unless you count the Jersey Milking Yearling that flew in from Australia!
Located in Chilliwack, BC, the drive to Madison from Westcoast is 31 hours by car according to Google Maps. Couple that with a semi load of top-quality cattle that need to stop every 12 hours, and a convoy of tack and helpers, the trip takes several days.
Since the trip takes so long, you can bet that only the best cows and heifers in the barn make the truck. This year was no exception as cows like Jacobs Gold Liann, 2016 Royal Grand Champion, Morsan Doorman Missy, HM Intermediate Champion BC Spring 2018, and Westcoast Doorman Cash, 1st Senior 2 Vancouver Island Show 2018, made their way up the ramp. But anyone who knows the Kooyman family, knows that no show string is complete without a strong contingent of Red & White ladies, which was anchored this year by Oakfield A Shampagne, Westcoast Defiant Addison and Ms Apples Aleda.
No strangers to the ring, these three cows have a pretty impressive resumes. Shampagne won the Junior 2yr Old class at last year’s Expo, earning her an All-American title. Both Addison and Aleda have also had strong finishes on the coloured shavings and have earned many more accolades at local competitions in British Columbia.
Cowsmo had a chance to visit with Jeff and Darren Kooyman following their return to BC, to talk about their unforgettable week at this year’s World Dairy Expo and the results that make the long journey entirely worth it.
Is there something that makes this year’s win particularly special?
“Shampagne’s win was awesome,” says Darren, “it’s special because she’s in our barn! She’s so young and has such a bright future ahead of her. She’s probably one of the youngest R&W cows to win the show at Madison. It’s pretty special.”
“Winning the Champion Bred & Owned cow was amazing,” says Jeff. “It was a lifelong goal to breed a homebred Madison Champion. Actually, I used to say once we’d done that we’d quit showing!! Everyone reminded me of that when we got back home. But we’re not quitting, we enjoy it way too much.”
For Jeff, this was the first time he’d led a class winner at Madison, “I’ve led quite a few second-place cows, but this is the first time I’ve led one into first. And Addison was one of the smallest cows in the class – it just proves how much quality she has.”
What offspring & pregnancies do you have from Shampagne and Addison?
Shampagne was shortbred to Apple Crisp two days before she won the show! Addison has three daughters by Loyola-P who are getting closer to calving now, they have a lot of potential. She also has a daughter by Axel and one by Incredibull. We haven’t made any decisions about flushing or IVF’ing yet.
What do you think makes these cows so special?
They are both so dairy for red cows. They both excel in overall quality and have silky udders, probably more so than your typical Red & White cows have been in the past. With all sorts of new bulls coming out, you’re probably going to see a lot more of the dairy quality that these two cows have. “This is why we do red cows,” says Darren.
Was this year’s success expected? Did you have a good feeling coming in?
On show morning? Yes, we’d say that there was a possibility. Both cows came incredibly well over night and when we got to the barn in the morning, we thought “wow, this could be a good day.” At the same time, you don’t want to anything fore granted, you don’t know who else’s cows came on good during the night, so you just hope for the best. We didn’t really walk around the barn much to check out the competition and we never really considered which other cows were there that could contend, or who would be in Addison and Shampagne’s classes.
Who can be most attributed with the success this year?
Everybody! We had an amazing crew this year, they worked hard and were awesome all week. We also have really good help at home and we had the cows as best prepared for Expo as they could be before we left. Success like this is never just one person, it always takes a great team of people!
In what can best be described as a magical week, Westcoast also had 1st place Milking Yearling, with a cow they added to their lineup during Expo, Midas-Touch Av Cling VG-88 2yr, an Avalanche daughter from the Barbie family, as well as 3rd in the same class with Westcoast Orion Aryane, who is +4.0 for Type and is a granddaughter from Apple. Their continued success on the coloured shavings certainly makes the trip worth the drive!