LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Registered Jersey breeders may look forward to walking on the green shavings of the Kentucky Exposition Center’s Freedom Hall in Louisville the first weekend in November to take part in the All-American Jersey Show. To win a banner at any point throughout the weekend is something most dream of but only a few experience.
The partnership of Kylie and Dawson Nickels, Travis Freson, Mandy Sell and Scott Stanford, all of Watertown, Wisconsin, experienced a high like none other during the 2021 All-American Jersey Show with their senior 3-year-old cow Homeridge T Annette EX-91 which claimed several banners.
“We knew Annette looked really good, so we were really just hoping for the best,” Sell said. “It’s the Jug, so we were pretty nervous. We had been waiting for this day since we first picked her up as a little calf and decided to enter her for this year’s Jug.”
Annette first took the show by storm, winning the National Jersey Jug Futurity Nov. 7. The long-running National Jersey Jug Futurity is the richest class for dairy cows, dating back to 1954. In order to show in the futurity, animals must first be nominated as calves. Then, additional nomination payments are made when they are yearlings, 2 year olds and the final payment as 3 year olds.
Fresh in July with her second calf, Annette sorted her way to the top for judge Brady Core, of Salvisa, Kentucky, and his associate Robert Teixeira, of Turlock, California.
“What a beautiful class of cows we have here today, but this first-place cow … she just blows me away,” said Core in his reasons. “She has a tremendous rear udder with crazy height and width. She’s got that openness and extreme Jersey style; and a beautiful head and neck with so much femininity and breed character.”
While Annette may have stood out to the judges, she caused some anxiety for her owners standing at the ringside.
“We were a little anxious watching the class because Annette was not handling the best, and it was not typical Annette behavior,” Sell said. “She was a little bit of a pistol as a heifer, but we had thought she was past that stage.”
Nickels and Annette have been showring partners for some time.
“Thankfully, Kylie and Annette are the best partners,” Sell said. “I was so glad to have Kylie on the halter. They really mesh well, and Kylie stays so calm with her, even when she’s challenging.”
As the winner of the National Jersey Jug Futurity, Annette was not eligible to compete in her class during the All-American Jersey Show Nov. 8, but she was invited to come back to Freedom Hall for the selection of the national show’s intermediate champion. Despite not placing her in the all-American show, Annette stood out to judge Ted DeMent, of Kenney, Illinois, and his associate Trent Kilgus, of Fairbury, Illinois, and was their selection for intermediate champion.
“We are just thrilled with the group of cows we have out here, and the future of the Jersey breed definitely looks bright,” DeMent said. “We didn’t get to see this Jug cow in class, but she just floors you with that height and width of rear udder. And, that’s what does it for us today.”
While Annette can sometimes be a bit of a handful, Sell said she always seems to know exactly what she needs to do to get ready and perform in the showring.
“Despite being a little spunky like she was on Sunday, Annette really is such an easy-going cow,” Sell said. “She is really a dream come true.”
Annette was bred by Homeridge Jerseys, Ferme Steingruber Senc., of East Farnham, Quebec. She is sired by Tower-Vue Prime Tequila. Her dam is an EX-90 2E Hawarden Impuls Premier daughter, and she has eight more generations of Very Good and Excellent cows behind her.
Annette currently has four daughters: a March 2020 daughter sired by Dutch Hollow Oliver-P, who will sell in the Music City Celebration Sale held in December in Nashville, Tennessee; a July calf sired by Richies Jace TBone; and two September calves sired by River Valley Venus VIP. She also has a bull calf sired by River Valley Joyride. She is bred back, due in June 2022, to River Valley Victorious and will be entering an in vitro fertilization program later this year.
Annette will sell in the Vierra Dairy AMPLIFY Event Sale March 5, 2022, in Hilmar, California.
Sell and her partners first came to own Annette when she was a calf, purchasing her through a tag sale held at Lookout Farm in Canton de Hatley, Quebec.
“(Stanford) and I wanted to buy a calf for my godson, Travis; something he could show and build a herd from with a good pedigree,” Sell said.
At the time, Travis was 8 years old, too young to show as a junior at most shows. Sell and Stanford are long-time supporters of youth in their area. Annette was shown by their neighbor, Sam Pitterle, as a junior project. As a heifer, Sell and Stanford boarded Annette at the Nickels’ farm, and Kylie began showing her as a junior project when she was a yearling. When she calved in as a 2-year-old, the Nickels decided to purchase an interest in Annette.    
Winning is not something Annette is unaccustomed to. Earlier this fall, she was named the intermediate and grand champion of the International Junior Jersey Show at World Dairy Expo. She wrapped up the week being selected as the reserve supreme champion of the youth show.
“So many people have helped us along the way getting Annette to where she is today,” Sell said. “It truly does take a village, and we have a great one. We are so thankful for the help of every single person who has been involved in getting her to this place where she could achieve what she has this year.”