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The legacies of Apple, Snickerdoodle and Veronica

Kathleen O’Keefe Published on 30 September 2015

In the realm of dairy cattle showing, there’s no bigger stage than the colored shavings at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. Hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of cattle converge on the city each fall with hopes and dreams of show ring glory.

The reality is that most go home without a ribbon, and very, very few win a class. Fewer still become breed show champions, and those cows quickly elevate themselves into household names.

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Arguably, the three most famous cows of the past 15 years would have to be Apple (KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET) in the Red & White breed, the Brown Swiss cow Snickerdoodle (Old Mill E Snickerdoodle) and Veronica (Huronia Centurion Veronica 20J) from the Jersey breed.

As well as being highly celebrated champions in their show careers, it’s what these three tremendous individuals have achieved as brood cows that keeps their names in the headlines. Proven to be outstanding reproductive cows, their influence has spread worldwide through the use of flushing and IVF.

Seeing triple: Apple

Now scored Excellent-96 3E and with more than 200,000 pounds of milk to her lifetime credit, KHW Regiment Apple-Red was the talk of the expo grounds as a junior 2-year-old in 2006.

Tall, long and dairy with an impeccable udder, she was one of very few red cows to show against her black-and-white peers and win. She went on to be named the Unanimous All-American Junior 2-Year-Old that year.

A seventh-generation Excellent and maternal sister to KHW Kite Advent-Red-ET (Premier Sire at the Expo Red & White Show from 2009 to 2014), Apple kept building on the family legacy.

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An early decision to clone the special young cow, and the early show ring success of those clones, indicated this family was rapidly on the rise.

When Apple’s clone, “Apple 2,” and Apple’s daughter, Ms Apple Pie-Red-ET stood first and second in the winter calf class at the show in 2008, the discussions began about what Apple could accomplish as a clone donor and as a brood cow.

The Apple partnership hit a home run early when they flushed her to Ladino Park Talent-Imp-ET. That mating yielded two EX-94 daughters in Ms Candy Apple-Red-ET and Ms Delicious Apple-Red-ET, both show winners in their own right.

It also resulted in the popular Red & White-type sire, Mr Apples Absolute-Red-ET, who is currently the number one daughter-proven red- or red carrier-type sire at +2.80T and +2.87UDC at 98 percent reliability and sire of numerous All-American Red & White winners.

Currently, other popular Apple family sires include the McCutchen son of another Apple clone (Apple C), Dymentholm Mr Apples Avalanche, who is the No. 1 genomic-type sire in Canada and the No. 6 genomic-type sire in the U.S. at +3.64. The Doorman son of Ms Delicious Apple, Mr D Apple Diamondback, also ranks high on the type list at +3.08T.

The Apple Partners group set their focus on the International Red & White Show in 2011. Apple glided around the ring after winning the aged cow class and then claimed her Red & White crown as she was named grand champion of the show. One of the loudest roars in the expo’s history erupted from the crowd when this long-time favorite was tapped as the top cow.

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The Apple story hit perhaps its highest note at World Dairy Expo in 2013.

The culmination of the International Red & White Show saw three cows standing in the middle of the ring: Apple clone KHW Regiment Apple-3-Red-ETN as grand champion, KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET herself as reserve grand champion, and Apple’s daughter – Ms Candy Apple-Red-ET – as honorable mention grand champion.

The Apples scored a historical hat trick at World Dairy Expo.

A six-time grand champion: Snickerdoodle

If any cow deserves a stall plaque in her honor at World Dairy Expo, it would have to be Old Mill E Snickerdoodle EX-94 5E, the six-time grand champion of the Brown Swiss show.

She made the 18-hour trip from her Upperville, Virginia, home nine times over her career – and nine times, she was a class winner at the show.

She’s the only cow of all breeds to win every milking class at World Dairy Expo and holds the record for number of grand championships. She topped off her Madison resumé with a supreme champion title in 2003 and reserve supreme champion titles in 2008 and 2009.

She is still owned by her breeders, Allen and Tammy Bassler. They’ve seen her through a few health scares, traveled thousands of miles with her and helped her achieve an astonishing lifetime total of 261,870 pounds of milk, which ranks her sixth on the breed’s living lifetime production list.

Along the way, Snickerdoodle has garnered eight All-American awards and has been voted the All-Time All-American 2-Year-Old, 4-Year-Old and 5-Year-Old.

As if that wasn’t enough, Snickerdoodle was also flushed more than 50 times, which has resulted in more than 150 offspring worldwide. Her highest-scored daughter, Old Mill Starbuck Spottie-ET EX-94 2E, resides in the United Kingdom, where she has had a successful show career herself.

In total, Snickerdoodle has 20 Excellent daughters in the U.S. and at least a dozen Excellent daughters in the UK and the rest of Europe.

Her daughters and granddaughters have found success in the show ring, but Snickerdoodle’s larger influence on the breed is already evident through her sons. Her Primetime son, Old Mill WDE Supreme-ET, was sold as an embryo to fellow Brown Swiss breeder Wayne Sliker of Ohio, who gave the bull his memorable name.

In 2013, WDE Supreme was announced as the Premier Sire of the International Brown Swiss Show. That same year, Snickerdoodle won the dry cow class and received a standing ovation from an adoring crowd.

Her owner praises Snickerdoodle’s ability in transmitting superb udders, feet and legs and an affable temperament to her offspring.

“Through her sons and daughters, she’s passing on great udder traits, width of rump and dairy strength – just what the breed needs. She’s been the right cow at the right time,” noted Bassler.

This year, the Bassler family has relocated to a dairy in Florida, where Snickerdoodle will soon be joining them in retirement. Though she will no longer be making the trip to Madison, her place in the record books ensures she will be long remembered.

Follow the ‘V’: Veronica

If there’s one cow that is keeping it “all in the family” at World Dairy Expo, it would have to be Huronia Centurion Veronica EX-97 5E. In six trips to Madison, the Jersey breed celebrity claimed three consecutive grand champion titles from 2004 to 2006. She was named supreme champion in 2006 for her owners, Arethusa Farm of Litchfield, Connecticut, as well as being reserve supreme champion in 2004.

Bred by the Armstrong family of Huronia Jerseys in Ontario, Canada, Veronica is backed by a deep pedigree and completes seven generations of Very Good and Excellent cows.

A prolific flush cow, Veronica has more than 110 sons and daughters registered in North America and more direct descendants around the world. Currently, she has 47 daughters appraised in the U.S. and all are scored Very Good or higher, with 35 of those being Excellent and sired by 13 different bulls.

She has four EX-95 daughters: Elliots Golden Vista, Arethusa Primetime Déjà Vu, Arethusa Veronicas Dasher and Arethusa Veronicas Comet. Her EX-94 daughter, Arethusa Response Vivid, was grand champion of the Jersey Show at World Dairy Expo in 2012 and reserve supreme champion overall.

That year, Veronica family members won five milking classes at the show. In 2014, three maternal granddaughters won milking classes at the International Jersey Show.

Her daughters and granddaughters have won numerous All-American awards, and she was the dam of the All-American Produce in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. If you see an International Jersey Show winner whose name starts with “V,” the odds are she traces back to Veronica.

Veronica has also put 20 sons into A.I. The names Vindication, Verbatim and Voltage will be familiar to those who follow show ring results. Her Whistler son, Vindication, is the sire of Milo Vindication Season EX-94, a three-time milking class winner at the expo, and she is the dam of the 2014 reserve junior champion of the show, Elliotts Sterling Impression-ET.

Voltage, a Golden Boy son, sired South Mountain Voltage Spice EX-94, the supreme champion of the World Dairy Expo junior show in 2011.

Now permanently retired to the scenic pastures at Arethusa, Veronica still has a huge fan club and regular visitors. Matt Senecal, farm manager at Arethusa, says it’s gratifying to see that the most elite purebred herds in the country all want to be involved with Veronica descendants.

“The influence Veronica has had on Arethusa and other herds is remarkable,” Senecal says. “She’s a cow that’s transcended show ring fame and is known throughout the whole dairy industry and beyond.”

That last sentence is true of all three of our featured cows. Though the domestic and international visitors mingling together at ringside may not all share the same native tongue, if you mention Apple, Snickerdoodle or Veronica, eyes light up, and you know you’re speaking the same language.  PD

Born and raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm, Kathleen O’Keefe is a freelance writer and lifelong purebred dairy cattle enthusiast. She currently resides in Hammond, Wisconsin.

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