8/3/2013 7:00 AM
By Shannon Sollinger Virginia Correspondent
LEESBURG, Va. — Logan Potts’ yearling Holstein cow, Pottsdale Braxton Rolos-ET, doesn’t take kindly to being led.
It showed Tuesday, as the cow was a little stubborn and planted her feet a few times during the senior dairy showmanship competition at the Loudoun County Fair.
But eventually the cow agreed to walk forward. And Potts, in his first year as a senior showman, took home the championship ribbon.
“I was shocked,” Potts, 16, said. “Today was the best she ever led. Before this, she hadn’t moved at all.”
Judge Jess Sentelle noted Potts “had a couple of little problems,” but he overcame them and was the best of the four competitors at “making her the best she could be. He changed her feet really quick.”
Sentelle, a rising junior at Virginia Tech, was on the Virginia Tech “A” dairy judging team that won at the Eastern States Exposition in 2012 and placed in the top 10 individually at the World Dairy Exposition that same year.
In 2011, she joined the Maryland 4-H dairy judging team, which won nationals and then traveled overseas to compete in the Scottish Royal Fair Dairy Judging Contest.
Potts said he picked Rolos for his show heifer because “she was the best one I had at that age.” His parents own Dogwood Farm in nearby Purcellville, Va., the last remaining dairy farm in Loudoun County and home to the Pottsdale Holsteins.
Some of the Pottsdale Holsteins, which in 1951 led the state with 160 herds, are owned by the farm, while others are owned individually by Logan Potts and his brother, Chris, and sister, Hayley. Logan Potts said he only shows the ones in his family of cows.
Ashley White was second in the senior class. Amanda Ryerse placed third and Nicole Beard, last year’s intermediate winner, was fourth.
All handled heifers came from Dogwood Farm.
Since 2001, when their son, Chris Potts — a Virginia Tech graduate who now works at the family dairy — was showing as a junior, Michael and Nancy Potts have opened their farm to any youngsters wanting to work with a heifer and take it to the fair in late July. This year, of the 13 competitors, 11 handled Holsteins from Dogwood. Two Jerseys rounded out the lineup.
“We started doing this because there was an interest,” Nancy Potts said. “A lot of kids liked coming to the fair, they love the cows. The 4-Hers I have show such an interest in the animals, they never complain, they come out early in the morning all summer instead of sleeping in to work with their calves. I love doing it, just to get them out to see agriculture.”
There are also added benefits, Nancy Potts admitted. In the absence of the club, her children would have been the only ones in the ring. The fact that the 4-Hers bond with their heifers “make pets out of them. That helps us out on the farm, having a nice, tame animal to work with.”
The intermediate class showcased the two Jersey heifers in the show, shown by Darby Adams and Tommy Baker, but the blue ribbon went to Kayla Cadle and her Dogwood loaner, Pottsdale Shamrock Rome.
Cadle was really quick with her heifer’s feet, Sentelle noted, and kept good eye contact, even when her 10-month-old heifer “gave her a few moments.”
Tommy Baker, in second, kept his Jersey heifer well presented, but wasn’t quite as quick with the feet.
First and second in the junior class were both “really good,” Sentelle said, but her winner, Gaby White, “kept her eyes on me the whole time.” Madeline Alt, 12, was second in the junior competition. Last year’s junior champion, Jill Harrison, placed third, and Ethan Richardson placed. They all showed Pottsdale calves.
Madeline and Jill came back out to the showring about an hour later, taking champion and reserve champion Holstein and then supreme champion and reserve supreme champion of the show.
Madeline said her calf, Pottsdale Alwy Sunswirl-Red, the only red Holstein in the show, wasn’t always easy to bring along.
“She jumped around a lot and she takes kind of big steps. I had to go slower with her to get her to take smaller steps,” Madeline said.
Even though the red calf turned 6 months old later in the week, it stood out in its breed class.
“She was the most stylish, good showing calf out there,” Sentelle said. “She was really straight and strong across the top line, and for only a spring calf, really deep and powerful in her rib, really wide and strong for such a little young cow.”
Jill, who’ll turn 12 next month, said her dad picked her calf, Pottsdale Heath Zenia.
“He liked where her legs were, they didn’t look sickle, and he liked her barrel and her great personality. She’s not hard to handle,” Jill said.
The novice class brought out two more Dogwood animals, with first place going to Jamie Cimbalista and second place going to Aine Sweeney.