Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, hosted 55 dairy enthusaists for Cow Camp. The three-day event, which began July 8, was sponsored by the California Junior Holstein Association. With the help of Dr. Stan Henderson, Mr. Rich Silacci and California Holstein Secretary Kate Briggs, educational focus was on the sales and promotion end of the Holstein industry.

Upon arrival at Cow Camp, each participant was given an unmarked envelope with 'Moo Money' in it. The amounts were random. Catalogs had been prepared in advance by Angie Kennedy, Holstein USA representative.

Twenty lots were to be sold at the Mock Holstein Sale held in the dairy arena at Cal Poly. A video screen was put to use to project pictures of lots, including picks of flushes and embryo packages available for sale along with 12 live lots. Lot 20 was a genomic tested female from Den-K Holsteins, to delve into the new and hot sale enthusiasm surrounding genomics. During the sale animal preview, campers received calls from home (they all have cell phones!).


Some of them were told that the tractor broke down, and $1000 would be needed to fix it. Some were told that they had just sold a bull on the farm, and had an extra $500 to spend. So the amount of money they had could drastically change with one of those 'calls from home'. Staffing the sale were the Cow Campers.

They served as pedigree readers, auctioneers, ringmen, sale clerks and runners. Sale clerks were instructed by Saralee Kunde from Petaluma. Participants enthusiastically learned how to run a sale. The other cow campers, with money in hand, purchased, formed partnerships by pooling their money, and made decisions such as whether or not to purchase livestock insurance and how much to spend.


We weren't sure how active the kids would be in purchasing, but they proved to be engaged in their purchases and contientious about the amount they spent and which animal(s) to spend it on. We even had a sale correction that had to be made when the successful bidder did not realize that the embryos she was purchasing were price per embryo. After she realized her error, the lot went back to sale status.

Following the sale barbecue, campers were then told what became of their purchases at the Mock Sale: some made money, some used that mortality insurance as milk fever and an unfortunate incident with calving caused the demise of a few of the mock animals purchased. We were very happy with the results, and plan on sponsoring similar events at future Cow Camps.

Judging dairy cattle was the main activity on the second day. Cow Campers served as the fitting crew, and chaperones and Cal Poly students led animals for the judging contest. Four classes of Holsteins were judged with one reasons class.

At the conclusion of the judging contest, campers were given instructions in judging dairy pedigrees, reviewed the new PDCA dairy cow scorecard and also learned how to judge linear. After the linear instruction, they were put to the test by judging a cow using the linear technique.

Judging results were as follows: High Novices were Morgan Nunes and Alexandria Lopes. High in the Junior Division was Tony Lopes. High Overall in the Senior Division was Brooke Parsons, and High Individual in Reasons was Brooke Parsons of Petaluma.


After a long day of learning, judging, and reasoning, they loaded up on a bus to head to the beach. Avila Beach was the site of a fabulous tri-tip barbeque, prepared by famous Cow Camp chef Sean Allen, as well as a roaring bonfire and smores.

The third day started with an early breakfast, a heated ping pong match, followed by dairy jeopardy. Dairy jeopardy is like the Jeopardy contest seen on TV, but the questions are dairy- and Holstein-related.

After some heated rounds, awards were given out to: novice winner, Morgan Nunes; junior winner, Rylin Lindahl; and senior winner, Caitlin Lopes. The linear judging award winner from the day before was also announced, and the winner was Tony Lopes.

The campers then made the trek to Mustang Lanes for some competition of a different kind – bowling and billiards. The California Junior Holstein Association would like to thank Dr. Stan Henderson, Rich Silacci, Dr. Leann Berning and Dr. Bruce Golden for making Cow Camp possible. Cal Poly is a great school, with great cows and numerous people that care about the future of the dairy industry!

Information and photos provided by Kirsten Areias, junior adviser for California Holstein Association. See more photos from Cow Camp at California Holstein Association's Facebook page.