The Western Classic Junior Dairy Show began in 2012 and has been held annually every year since at the Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford. It is a junior-only dairy cattle show, allowing youth ages 5-21 to participate.
In late 2011, due to tough economic times and decreased funding from the State of California, the Great Western Livestock Show in Tulare was canceled. Great Western included a junior dairy cattle show at the Tulare Fairgrounds, the first weekend in March for many years. It was a great event that hosted young dairy exhibitors from up and down the state.
Not wanting to sit back and witness another event for juniors be cut back or lost, the South San Joaquin Holstein Club decided to establish a similar event so that juniors could continue to enjoy the same opportunities that many of its members enjoyed growing up.
Club members Greg Silva, Matthew and Lauren Evangelo, Anthony Souza and Joey Airoso, along with the help of additional SSJHA members, and dairy cattle enthusiasts, encompass the reason there is a show today.
It is important to note that this show would not be possible without several volunteers, who spend countless hours helping everything come together, and for all of our business sponsors. The show is privately funded, so we are grateful to all the business throughout the state that have stepped up to help make this show a reality.
The show has continued to grow and gain popularity throughout the entire state and more than exceeds our expectations. At the 5th Annual Western Classic in 2016, the number of cattle and exhibitors had nearly doubled since we started the show, five years prior. A total of 308 head of cattle were exhibited with divisions including Registered and Grade Holsteins, and Registered and Grade Any Other Breed (AOB).
We had nearly 190 exhibitors with 169 exhibiting in Showmanship and 138 Judging Contest participants in the dairy judging contest on Saturday morning.
For this year’s show, we are setting up another barn to accommodate additional cattle and exhibitors. The positive response we receive from the exhibitors, parents, leaders and people in our community is humbling and rewarding. In an industry that is often filled with negative talk, this show is an excellent reminder that our future is bright.