A feature article in our 2021 Late Winter Issue written by Bonnie Cooper.
Behind every great show cow is a story. At the 2020 North American Open Dairy Cattle Show in Circleville, Ohio, K-Land Kilo Black Diamond EX-94 was crowned 1st aged cow, Senior Champion, Grand Champion and Best Udder of the Holstein Show. She is owned by Matt Lintvedt of Majestic View Genetics, Sun Prairie, WI, along with his mother Rhonda Hetts Shore, his father Gary Lintvedt, his aunt Randy Hetts Connery, and a friend Pamela Probert. This is Black Diamond’s story.
When Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the 54th World Dairy Expo (WDE) the news was met with immense sadness. Matt Lintvedt and his family were particularly disappointed. Matt’s grandfather, the late Allen Hetts of Crescent Beauty Farms, Fort Atkinson, WI, is widely acknowledged as being primarily responsible for conceiving the idea of WDE and having it located in Madison, WI. Three generations of the Hetts family have exhibited cattle at WDE.
When a committed group of American dairy cattle exhibitors rallied and organized a new major fall show in Ohio, Matt Lintvedt and his various partners decided to take four Holsteins and one Jersey to the event.
As the long day of Holstein showing in Ohio drew to a close, yells of jubilation and joy rang from ringside as the aged cow K-Land Kilo Black Diamond was declared Grand Champion by Judge Mike Berry. It was an exciting and emotional win for Black Diamond’s owners, especially Matt Lintvedt, 41, whose passion for owning and showing dairy cattle pulses through his veins. Two days after Black Diamond’s victory, he posted on Facebook: “So we all show cows for different reasons…for me, it’s always been about family legacy. It’s never been about the money (we all know that these days), being in the photo (hate getting my picture taken) or popularity (self explanatory lol). My main goal was to have the Hetts family be the first three-generation family to exhibit Grand Champion at Madison.”
Matt’s grandfather, Allen, captured the first Holstein Grand Championship at WDE in 1967 with Bayland Crescent Charmane EX-91. In 1974, Allen and wife Doris’s “kids” – Randy, Rhonda, Roy, Renee and Rodney – along with Matt’s Dad, were members of Felicia May Associates, the owners of that year’s WDE Grand Champion, Gene Acres Felicia May Fury EX-97. More recently, Rodney Hetts and Renee Hetts Beilke were partners in WDE’s 2019 Grand Champion, Butz-Butler Gold Barbara EX-96-3E-GMD. While Black Diamond’s win did not come on the colored shavings at WDE, Matt knows his family is proud. On Facebook he wrote, “When I asked Mom, ‘What would Grandpa and Grandma think of this?’ Her response was, ‘Don’t worry, they are watching. My Dad would love Diamond, she is his kind.’”
Black Diamond was bred by Kenny Krebs, K-Land Holsteins, Fredericksburg, OH. Her sire is K-Land Kilo, a Sanchez son from a VG-86 Dundee dam and then four EX dams behind that. Krebs collected semen on Kilo and there are reports his semen can still be found in some tanks in Ohio. Black Diamond’s mother is K-Land Pac-Mac Kindle GP-83, who is sired by another K-Land bred Sanchez son. Kindle is from a VG-85 Dundee dam. Four of five of the next maternal dams are all EX. In addition to the double dose of Sanchez and Dundee in Black Diamond’s linebred pedigree, the 3rd dam on the sire side and the 5th dam on the dam’s side are the same cow, K-Land Kurtsie EX-90 by Lystel Leduc.
In 2014, John and Donna Hawvermale, Wooster, OH, were looking for a show heifer for their daughter Ashley, a Junior Holstein member. They found Black Diamond in the calf hutches at K-Land Holsteins and took her home. As a spring calf that year, Black Diamond was 1st at the Mideast Summer National, 2nd at WDE’s Junior Holstein Show, and 8th in the open WDE Show. In 2015, she was 1st spring yearling and Junior Champion at WDE’s Junior Show for Ashley. As the Hawvermale family says today, “Black Diamond has been special to our family since day one and still is. We are, and will always be, her biggest fans.”
It was right after that WDE Junior Show win that Black Diamond was acquired by Scott Culbertson, Peak Genetics Inc. Sales Manager from Pine Island, MN, and Tom DeGroot of T & L Cattle Ltd., Rosedale, BC. As DeGroot recalls, “We bought her at Madison as a bred heifer. We had seen her pedigree. She was from a barnyard bull, but we thought what the heck, let’s buy her because we really liked her.” After placing 8th in WDE’s open show, Black Diamond moved to DeGroot’s farm. “She calved eight weeks early,” he says. “Then we got her ready for the 2016 British Columbia Spring Show in March. She was 1st junior 2-year-old and HM Intermediate Champion.”
Matt Lintvedt picks up the story, “I was in the frozen food section of the grocery store and looking at Facebook. Scott Culbertson had put a picture of Black Diamond up from BC Spring Show. I called him. He said, ‘You’re not going to like her because she doesn’t have any pedigree.’ I said try me. Right after, I called Garry Vanderpost of Saskatchewan to get his opinion because he had led her in British Columbia. Garry was very positive and said it was worth coming up and having a look at her. I got on a plane the next week to see her, along with Matt Smith of Smith-Crest Holsteins. Diamond was in a free-stall barn. She was underdeveloped, her feet were a mess and she was kind of round. But you could see that it was all there and it was just a matter of which way she was going to go. I had $20,000 in my pocket from my Mom and I, but Tom wanted $30,000. Tom and his wife Laury invited us in for supper. By the third bottle of wine I reached across the table and shook Tom’s hand and said, ‘I am going to buy the cow’. I gave him his price, not knowing how I was ever going to pay for her.”
The next morning while at the Vancouver Airport, Matt Lintvedt’s Dad called and asked how the trip had gone. Matt shared the news and his dilemma of coming up with the rest of the money to pay for Black Diamond. A few minutes later, his Dad called back, “Well you never asked me to go in on one with you. I could do that if you need me.” After checking with his Mom to make sure she was OK partnering with her ex-husband, Matt accepted his Dad’s offer and the family partnership was created. Pamela Probert (Matt Smith’s mother in-law) joined the group, and then in August 2020, Matt’s aunt Randy became a partner.
Black Diamond remained in Canada for the Canadian National Convention Show in Alberta in April where she placed 2nd. She was then transported to Manitoba where her new owners would pick her up. As Matt Lintvedt and Matt Smith approached the Canadian border with truck and trailer, Lintvedt realized he had forgotten his passport. Lintvedt was forced to remain at the border crossing, while Smith retrieved the cow. Once Black Diamond’s paperwork was cleared, the two took her to Smith-Crest Holsteins, Watertown, WI. In 2018, Black Diamond moved to her present home at Maple-Leigh Futures, Delavan, WI, where she is under the care of the Schamling family, with Tanner Schamling and his wife Maddie in charge of her show preparation.
Black Diamond finished her 2-year-old show season with 9th at WDE and 15th at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. After calving as a junior 3-year-old, she showed only once placing 7th at the 2017 Royal. Her owners decided then to leave her open and show her as a second calf 4-year-old. At over a year fresh, she was 2nd at Wisconsin Championship Show and the Midwest Spring Show and 8th at WDE. After calving again early in 2019, Black Diamond was 2nd 5-year-old and HM Grand Champion at the Midwest Spring Show. That fall at WDE, she was second, HM Senior Champion and HM Grand Champion, winnings which propelled her to Reserve All-American 5-Year-Old. Black Diamond calved with her fourth calf in early 2020. In addition to being Grand in Ohio, she was 2nd aged cow and HM Senior Champion at Wisconsin Championship Show. These achievements have now earned Black Diamond her second straight All-American nomination, with further accolades no doubt coming her way.
Tom DeGroot recalls telling Lintvedt the night he bought Black Diamond, “Be patient, she will do something great one day.” He was right. “Black Diamond hung around as a bridesmaid for awhile and then all of a sudden she looked incredible. That day in Ohio it was lights out. It was her and nobody else,” DeGroot says.
Matt Lintvedt agrees. “Black Diamond was the closest thing to perfect on show day in Ohio as I have ever seen,” he says. “Skippy (leadsman Chad Ryan) could have led her with his pinky finger. She almost shows herself. As soon as she gets in the ring her head goes up and it never comes down. Everybody that has ever worked with her says Diamond has such a kind personality. She doesn’t buck the system. She knows why she is there.”
What does Lintvedt love about Black Diamond? “Obviously her balance and mammary system,” he replies. “She exudes style. For me, she is dairy strength personified. She has a wide chest, big front-end, a long neck with a wide muzzle. She has a distinct chine, is hard on top and flat boned. And her udder, I don’t know that you could draw a better udder on a cow, especially with that many calves and at that age. Many people are comparing her to the True Type model.” He continues, “This cow’s future is ahead of her. The floor of her udder is still three inches above the hock. She has matured in all the right places and gotten more massive as she gets older. While her udder has gotten more volume, her attachments are as good as they have ever been. She already qualifies for the Lifetime Production Cow class.”
Black Diamond has a lifetime total to date of 154,582M. At 4-09, she made 39,575M, 1506F, 1227P in 365 days. She has three daughters. Her first, that was born at DeGroot’s, is HAW066 Kilo of Cocaine VG-87. Sired by Atwood, Cocaine is owned now by Dari Delite Farm, Sicamous, BC, is A2A2 and projected at 4-01 to 21,411M, 4.1F, 3.3P. Black Diamond’s second daughter, a Diamondback bred heifer, will freshen in early 2021. Her youngest, Miss Diamond Devotion ET, is sired by Doorman and was 9th spring calf at WDE in 2019. She is now owned by Esteban Posada of Mexico. A first choice female by Goldwyn from Black Diamond, due in December 2021 or March 2022, sold through the recent Music City Celebration IV Sale for $15,100 to Ben Verthein, Altura, MN.
Black Diamond is due in February to a beef bull. Lintvedt explains, “Everything that we own we breed to two Holstein bulls and one beef bull all at the same time. My theory on this is if we want to make heifer calves we will make calves by IVF and flushing. Getting a cow pregnant is the most valuable thing we can have.” Until now, Lintvedt and his partners have not put any effort into doing IVF or ET on Black Diamond. “I firmly believe that the more you flush or IVF, the harder it is on the cow,” says Matt. “In our program, longevity is a big deal. So we try to get them bred back and then once they are pregnant we kind of leave them alone. We are going to give Black Diamond a year off, mainly because we don’t have many progeny from her. We are going to cross her with some of the prominent bulls like Goldwyn and Avalanche.” As he points out, “Black Diamond is one of the most famous outcross, show cows in the world as she does not have any Goldwyn or Apple blood in her pedigree.” Matt continues, “I firmly believe our industry needs some fresh bloodlines. It is getting harder to breed and flush cows today without crossing over into the same cow families over and over again. Black Diamond brings a whole different approach to things and I am excited to see what her transmitting ability is as we use different bulls on her.”
Black Diamond is not Matt Lintvedt’s first show winner. Matt is the Owner/Managing Broker of Lintvedt Reality Group and specializes in working with private equity firms who make agriculture land investments. He also buys the majority of the replacement heifers for one of the largest dairy companies in North America. Matt started seriously investing in dairy cattle 14 years ago. At the 2006 Sale of Stars in Toronto, he and a partner were the contending bidders on Misty Springs Shottle Silk EX-90 12* when she sold as a calf. (Silk later became the number one LPI Cow in Canada and an All-American nominee.) Doug Blair of RockyMountain Holsteins in Alberta was sitting behind Matt at the sale. When Matt didn’t get Silk, Blair asked if he would be interested in buying some embryos from Silk’s dam, Willsona Freelance Sizzle VG-86 10*. Lintvedt and his partner agreed and bought five embryos. They got one bull and two heifers. The bull went to an A.I. stud, one heifer sold for $27,000 in the 2008 Global Glamour at Arethusa Sale, and part-interest in the third heifer sold to a group in England for $30,000. Matt and his partner took that money and bought B&L Dundee Samantha EX-94 who went on to be nominated for All-American three times (2006-07-08) and All-Canadian once. “Samantha blew up in terms of marketability and embryo production and she is the reason we were able to buy all the other animals we have,” he says.
Lintvedt has earned close to 70 All-American and All-Canadian nominations between the Holstein, Red & White and Jersey animals he has owned. Other show winning Holsteins and R&Ws to appear under the Majestic View banner include Cavanaleck BG Bruin EX-94, Reserve All-American 5-Year-Old 2017 and nominated All-American 2018-19; Miss Hot Mama-Red EX-92, 2016 Holstein USA “Cow of the Year” and All-American R&W and Reserve All-Canadian B&W Milking Yearling 2015; full sisters Comestar Hodree Goldwyn EX-91, Reserve All-American Summer Yearling 2014, and Comestar Holiday Goldwyn VG-87, All-American and All-Canadian Summer Yearling 2016; Ms Apple Arrie EX-93, Reserve All-American Senior 2-Year-Old 2017; and Crystal-Star Avlnch Cali VG-87, Reserve All-American Fall Calf 2019 and nominated All-American Milking Yearling 2020. Among his prize winning Jerseys are Leachland Kisses-K VG-88, HM All-American Milking Yearling 2019 and nominated now three years in a row.
Lintvedt shows because he loves the “competition”. As he says, “Where else in the world does a normal person like me, or my partners, get to compete at the top level like this for something that is the best in the world?” More importantly though, Lintvedt says, “I do this for my parents. They have been in this business their whole lives and I have seen the enjoyment that Mom and Dad get from doing well at the shows and being around them. I take lot of pleasure in seeing their excitement and happiness.”
As Matt Lintvedt reflects on Black Diamond’s success, he says, “One thing I do really value is the fact that we have been able to do this all with family. And the other partners we have outside of family on other animals, they are like family. The business has gotten to be fun again.”