Tom Cull leads Blondin Goldwyn Subliminal-ETS EX-97 4E down the ramp at Budjon Farms near Lomira, Wisconsin. Subliminal is owned by Budjon Farms and Peter and Lyn Vail.
Tom Cull leads Blondin Goldwyn Subliminal-ETS EX-97 4E down the ramp at Budjon Farms near Lomira, Wisconsin. Subliminal is owned by Budjon Farms and Peter and Lyn Vail. PHOTO SUBMITTED
LOMIRA, Wis. – At 97 points, over 310,000 pounds of lifetime milk and grand champion titles to her name, the 2021 Star of the Breed has it all. Blondin Goldwyn Subliminal-ETS EX97-4E is a household name with doting fans around the globe. And at age 13, she is the oldest cow to ever win Star of the Breed.
Subliminal is owned by Budjon Farms Lomira and Peter and Lyn Vail of Englewood, Florida. The Canadian-born cow was bred by Ferme Blondin in St. Placide, Quebec, and purchased when she was 3 years old. Subliminal resides at Budjon Farms where the Tom and Kelli Cull milk 60 cows and farm 500 acres.
 “I was interested in Subliminal because she was a young cow with great potential,” Tom said. “During herd visits to Blondin, I saw other family members with great potential that had gone on to do great things and believed she could do the same.”
Subliminal comes from the renowned Supra family which contains more than one 97-point cow.
She is the daughter of Blondin Red-Marker Sublime EX-93 and the granddaughter of Blondin James Supra-ET EX-90.
“The Supra family contains strong-pedigreed, high-profile cows,” Kelli said.  
Excelling in type, production and longevity, Subliminal meets all the criteria for the Star of the Breed award and then some. Last year, she joined an elite group of cows when she scored EX-97 at the age of 12. Also in 2021, she was first-place 150,000-pound cow and grand champion at the Midwest Spring National show. That fall, at 18 months fresh and in her eighth lactation, Subliminal was second-place 150,000-pound cow at World Dairy Expo. And just when they thought the cow could do no more, she won Star of the Breed.
The Star of the Breed award was introduced in 2007 to annually recognize one registered Holstein cow that exemplifies outstanding production combined with exceptional type. It is the highest honor a registered Holstein can receive. Subliminal will be recognized during Holstein Association USA’s 136th annual meeting at the National Holstein Convention in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this summer.
Well respected in the industry, Subliminal is a star of the show ring and a production powerhouse. Her lifetime production record looks like this: 310,707 pounds of milk, 12,360 pounds of butterfat and 9,869 pounds of protein. Her best record occurred at 11 years of age when she made 44,740 pounds of milk, 1,921 pounds of butterfat and 1,366 pounds of protein in 365 days.
This high-class Holstein who the Culls call “Sub” for short made her WDE debut as a junior 3-year-old with Budjon Farms and finished seventh in her class. Subliminal was named honorable mention all-American junior 3-year-old that year and reserve all-Canadian junior 3-year-old.
Subliminal’s journey is an amazing one filled with trial and triumph. As a young cow, she took a devastating fall, surviving an accident few animals would ever have the tenacity to come back from. Subliminal dislocated her right hip, so the Culls sent her to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Veterinary Care where surgery was performed to put her hip back in place. She stayed at the vet hospital for three months in a sling. When she returned home, she was housed in a sand pen built just for her, which is where she spent another nine months in hobbles. It took Subliminal a year to heal completely, but she made a miraculous recovery.
“I don’t know many cows that survive splitting their rear legs, but Subliminal healed perfectly and is mobile and trouble-free to this day,” Kelli said. “She is the true definition of a Cinderella story.”
Subliminal made an epic comeback on the tanbark trail the year after her accident when she received supreme champion honors of the junior show at WDE in 2014. She would proceed to rack up wins in the years that followed, being named junior all-American aged cow and honorable mention all-American aged cow in 2015 and all-Canadian mature cow in 2016. In 2017, she won the lifetime production class at WDE and all-American honors. She took the year off in 2018, and in 2019, she took third place in the 150,000-pound production cow class at WDE after being sick and hooked up to IVs all week.
 “Sub is a cow that’s real aware of her surroundings,” Kelli said. “She knows when she’s hurt, sick or injured and stays calm. She knows how to take care of herself with our management and knows when to lay low. She’s a cool cow that doesn’t overdo it if she doesn’t need to.”
Kelli’s favorite memory of Subliminal is when she took grand champion at last year’s Midwest Spring National show.
“Seeing her tapped for grand champion, 12 months fresh, knowing this was probably her last show, was extremely emotional,” Kelli said. “I cried like a baby.”
The Culls thought that would be Subliminal’s last show, but Kelli said she looked so good they decided to show her at WDE too. Since then, Subliminal’s show halter has been hung up for good, and she has also retired from milking. However, she is not done producing offspring. Subliminal has 71 daughters with more calves to come. Her embryos have been sold worldwide, and the Culls continue to flush her.
“We continue to have national and international interest in Subliminal’s daughters and embryos,” Kelli said. “It is amazing how the cow resonates for so many people for so many different reasons – her longevity, show ring accolades and strong pedigree are certainly highlights of what make Subliminal the complete package with a rockstar status.”