The cows will be on parade for the 75th time this year as the UT Extension of Bradley County and the Rotary Club of Cleveland host the Junior Dairy Show.
Kim Frady of the UT Extension said the 4-H event has become a way for former participants to connect with current students.
The Tuesday dairy show will focus on the characteristics of the cow with first, second and third places being named in different age categories. The winners in these categories will then be judged against each other to choose the junior champion of the heifers and the junior champion of the cows.
Frady explained that heifer is the term used for the bovine before it has had it first calf.
Students from fourth through 12th grades will be showing cows at the event.
The event is being held at the William Hale Agricultural Center on Peerless Road. The center is at the same location as the UT Extension Cannery and the Peerless Road recycling center.
Winners from the local event will compete at the Regional Dairy Show in Knoxville.
“Things have changed to a degree. We probably don’t have as many animals as we used to because there are not as many dairy farms in the community,” Frady said.
Students do not have to own a cow to participate. Many students partner with local farmers to have an animal to show at the event.
Frady said there is not usually a monetary fee, but the student and the dairy farmer do have a written lease agreement.
Most of the time the cow will remain on the dairy farm; and the dairy farmer will make sure the cow is fed and getting proper nutrition. However, Frady did say sometimes, when possible, the student will take the cow home.
Frady has been a part of hosting the annual dairy show for the past 30 years.
In preparation for the big day, students will wash and groom the cow and cut its hair.
As part of the dairy show, the students lead the cow into an area using a halter. Frady said part of the challenge for the students is getting the animal comfortable enough with them and with the bridle that they stay calm throughout.
“Sometimes a breed has something to do with it. Some breeds are easier to train than others,” Frady said.
The dairy show focuses on characteristics of the cow.
Judges will look at health, color, size and legs of the cow.
“If you brought in a Holstein cow that was something besides red and white or black and white than it’s not a Holstein,” Frady said.
Size is considered based on the age of the cow. Is the cow the right size for its age? Judges also look at whether a cow has straight and stable legs and if it walks straight.
To celebrate the 75th Anniversary, Frady is planning to have photos of past dairy shows featured at the event. The dairy shows have been held at various locations throughout its history.
Frady said once it was even held on the Bradley Central High School football field. In the past bulls had been a part of the show, now it’s just cows.
This year’s show will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m.