By MELISSA HART
WILMINGTON, Ohio — Ayrshire enthusiasts from across the country gathered in Wilmington June 26-29 for the annual Ayrshire Breeders Convention. Touring, enjoying fellowship and handing out hardware were among the highlights for this four-day event, which concluded with the Grand National Ayrshire Sale.
Touring the beautiful hills, convention participants enjoyed a stop at Young’s Jersey farm in Yellow Springs and the Great Serpent Mound in southwestern Ohio. This mound is the world’s largest serpentine effigy mound yet discovered; it writhes through trees on a cliff overlooking the Brush Creek Valley of Adams County.
The last stop of the tour for the Ayrshire enthusiasts was one of the more well-known Ayrshire herds, Emerald Farms, owned by the Fenton and Jodrey families of Winchester. After the younger generation played Ag Olympics and the adult crowd looked over the cattle, they enjoyed supper and ended the evening with fireworks over the pasture.
In addition to the tours, Ayrshire breeders from all over the country were recognized. The 2013 Constructive Breeder Awards went to Doug Evans of Georgetown, N.Y.; Dale Maulfair of Jonestown, Pa.; Darryl Keehner of Guttenberg, Iowa; Brian and Kristi Dinderman of Orangeville, Ill.; Jack Miller of Bradner, Ohio; Timothy Busch of Cecil, Wis.; and Gregg and Patricia Borchardt of Caledonia, Ill.
Ashley Hardy of Maine was crowned the 2013 Ayrshire Queen.
Other distinguished honors followed, including the Industry Award to Bernie Heisner of COBA/Select Sires for the working relationship between COBA and US Ayrshires. The 2013 Master Breeder award went to Doug Evans and family, while Jason Mowry of Roaring Springs, Pa., was named the 2013 Young Leader.
Youth contests sparked the convention, too. The Junior Quiz Bowl Champions were from Florida, while Ohio youth took the Senior Quiz Bowl contest – team members included Tanner Topp, Corey Jodrey, Cody Jodrey and Eileen Gress.
When it came to the Jeopardy! game, the junior winner was Christopher Sweeny of New York, followed by Michael Fioretto and Garret Greaves of Florida. In the senior division, Eileen Gress took the top spot, followed by Tylor McCauley and Corey Jodrey, also both from Ohio.
The coveted Distinguished Ayrshire Junior Award went to Xavier Almeter from Arcade, N.Y.
And the grand finale of the convention was the Grand National Ayrshire Sale, where a large crowd gathered for a chance at top-shelf genetics. With the final fall of the gavel, 44 live animal lots averaged $3,050. The top seller was Geminaecho Remington Shellie, fetching a price of $8,600. No stranger to the show ring, she was unanimous All American Fall Calf, the second-place Fall Yearling as a heifer and Grand Champion at the 2013 Ohio Spring National Show as a cow.
Shellie is a Remington daughter and her maternal sister is the well-known Geminaecho Showstar Shirley EX-91, Grand Champion at the 2013 New York Spring Show. Shellie was consigned by the Hawvermale family of Wooster, Ohio, and purchased by Ty and Heather Etgen and Ron and Patti Kennedy, all of Ohio.
There was also a youth auction, which raised $4,077.50 for youth programming and activities.