The Center for Dairy Excellence and PennAg Industries held its 6th VIP Legislative Dairy Showmanship Contest on Wednesday, January 14th during the 99th Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Each year, legislators are invited to borrow an exhibitor’s animal and be coached by the exhibitor on how to show a dairy animal. The legislators are also coached by their peers who have won past VIP Showmanship Contests. This year, Senator John Eichelberger, Representative Mike Tobash and Representative Mark Keller each served as coaches. Senator Elder Vogel Jr also provided guidance to the participants as the host of the event. The legislators paraded their animals into the ring in front of this year’s judge, Sean Johnson from Glenville, Pa. At the conclusion of the show, Judge Johnson chose Representative Keith Gillespie as the winner. Kelly Johnson from Rutter’s Dairy in York, Pa., was his coach and provided her heifer, Wisp, for the event.
Gillespie, R-York County, grew up farming and was part of the local 4-H program. He still raises livestock, which is why showing Wisp, the 13 month old Guernsey, may have looked so natural. He received the Mike Waugh Memorial Cowbell award which is named in honor of the late York County State Senator, who passed away this past October.