More Than Milk

When you see a cow, what do you think? Milk? Moo? Old McDonald? These are very common thoughts, but cows are so much more than milk! 

This past weekend I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to the 38th annual North American International Livestock Expo. The expo was all about sheep, horses, and cows…oh my! All weekend farmers from all around the world gathered together to show their livestock! I like to think of livestock shows as an animal beauty pageant; they are based on how well and healthy the animal looks (physical fitness) and the overall presentation (evening gown).

One of the most interesting things about livestock shows is how the animal is treated before, during, after competition. Prior to a show, the show heifers (female cows) are treated with the highest regards. They are bathed each day that they are at a show, as well as blown dry. The heifers always eat twice a day. A great deal of time is spent grooming the calves to ensure that their hair is perfect. Basically, they must go into hair and makeup before on stage competition.

The judges look for many different things in a good show heifer, such as the healthiness of the coat of hair, the correct amount of fat - not too much and not too little, it must be very thick and healthy, all of the feet must be pointing in the same direction, and the cow must have a large bone structure. All in all, the show person must take special care of the animal and treat it humanely.

Livestock shows give kids and adults the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. Like pageants, they require a lot of hard work and discipline. Also, scholarships are given to the showmen with the best animal! As you can see, cows are more than just milk.

Jurnee Carr


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