All-girl competition – among dairy cows – at the fair

Print Article

Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Pixie chose the dairy fitting and showing competition to refuse to cooperate, no matter how much her owner Llandon Ahmann tugged on her halter.

MOSES LAKE — Pixie just would not cooperate.

She entered the show ring – and refused to move. Her owner Llandon Ahmann tugged. And tugged, and clicked his tongue to encourage her and tugged some more. And Pixie wouldn’t move, or wouldn’t move very far, which caused a problem because Llandon was competing in the dairy cattle fitting and showing competition at the Grant County Fair.

Dairy cattle are a niche competition at the fair; to begin with, it’s all girls. All girl cows, that is. Judge Brooke Moe, Pasco, was looking for a certain quality in the animals. It could almost be called a bovine femininity. “Look at the dairyness of her,” Moe said of one of the cows in competition.

“So stylish. So dairy,” she said of another.

There was one actual milk cow in the competition in 2017. The rest were breeding stock.

Dairy fitting and showing is pretty much like fitting and showing for any animal – the handler is trying to show the animal to its best advantage. “The judge is looking at how well you control the animal,” explained R.J. Rupard of Ephrata.

Competitors spend a lot of time working with their animals, training them to accept and work with the halter. “Like, if they’re not doing what you want them to do, you can pull it (the halter),” explained Annjolenn Ahmann.

A competitor can improve their chances when they pick out an animal to train for competition. “If they walk nice, that’s a good sign,” said Maya Armcost-Felton. She competed in two separate classes.

Like all show animals dairy cattle should be nice and clean when they enter the arena. Annjolenn gasped in horror when her cow lay down in the dusty arena prior to competition – but her mom saved the day with hand wipes.

There are certain characteristics that matter in dairy cow competition. “You want a heifer that can carry a cow. Well, a calf,” Maya said. “I’m not sure what depth is, but they look for that.” The judges reward a cow with a straight back, they don’t want stocky legs, and the cow can’t be pigeon-toed, she said. And the judges reward “dairyness in the face. Which is one reason we shave their faces.”

Dairy competition comes with a long history, and it’s acknowledged in the show ring. Dairy competitors wear white shirts and pants. R.J. said it dates back to the early years of the 20th century, when the workers in the dairy wore white.

And “I guess milk is white,” R.J. said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at

Print Article

Read More Grant County Fair

Fitting and showing sheep at Grant County Fair

August 18, 2017 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — What does it take to be an FFA grand champion sheep shower? “I just put in work, put my best out in the showing field. I always strive for my best,” said 15-year-old Gavin Sahli as he s...


Read More

Magically entertaining: Louie Foxx wows crowds at the Grant County Fair

August 18, 2017 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — What is magic? Is magic a simple trick or illusion? Or is it something more? During magician/entertainer Louie Foxx’s Thursday afternoon show at the Grant County Fair it became clear tha...


Read More

Show ring rewards quick thinking, cool head

August 18, 2017 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — The 16 competitors in the show ring had their work cut out for them. Grant County Fair officials set up a relatively small ring for swine fitting and showing competition, or maybe it ju...


Read More

Fair food booths benefit civic organizations

August 18, 2017 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — What do they serve at the Youth Dynamics food booth at the Grant County Fair? “Tater dogs,” said YD director Todd Welch. “Chicken salad,” said his dad Bill. “Ice cream sundaes,” Todd ...


Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2018 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy