Remembering Hopalong Cassidy and our first Holstein

By BARB LUMLEY Columnist Published:

Ok, you can stop chuckling now. Yes, that is me in the picture, wearing my Hopalong Cassidy hat and holding those Guernsey calves. For any of you "younger" people who never heard of Hopalong Cassidy, he was a popular hero in Western movies. He wore a black outfit, a black hat, and rode a white horse named "Topper." He was a fictional cowboy created in 1904 and was portrayed in the movies by William Boyd. He only drank sarsaparilla, never anything alcoholic!

On Saturday nights the milking was done early and then Dad, Mom, and I would be on our way to Carrollton. Everybody went to town on Saturday night! The streets would be filled with cars and if you weren't early you had a hard time finding a place to park. People would be lined up on the sidewalks talking, the men about crops, the weather, livestock, and the women usually gossiping. The first stop would be the grocery store to get needed supplies, sugar, flour, yeast, matches, salt -- the basic needs, and if I was lucky, a poke of candy. Then it was off to the local movie theater for the late movie. There was always an early showing of the movie, then a news reel and a showing of the titles of next week's movies, and then the same movie would run again. On Saturday nights the movies were usually Westerns, with stars such as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tim Holt, Randolph Scott, Rex Allen, Hopalong Cassidy, and one of my favorites, Lash Larue. He dressed in black, wore a white hat, rode a beautiful big black horse and corralled the bad guys with a huge blacksnake whip. I always wished I could learn how to crack one of those whips! Of course, Hoppy was a favorite, hence the hat, and I toted one of his gun sets for awhile!

Our first Holstein was a bull calf. Dad bought him from a dairyman, who had a well known herd of good Holsteins. We brought him home in the trunk of our Chrysler coupe with Dad holding him, Mom driving, and me being thrilled to be bringing home a full-blooded Holstein. There were no registration papers. At that time we didn't even know what a registration paper was. We didn't know a lot about Holsteins. We just knew that Guernsey and Jersey breeders were constantly saying, "If you drop a quarter in the bottom of a full pail of Holstein milk, you can still read In God We Trust on it!

Our herd was such a mixture of Guernseys, Milking Shorthorns, Brown Swiss, and even a couple of half Hereford crosses, we could hardly wait until we had some cows with that Holstein blood milking in our barn. Eventually Dad heard about "artificial insemination" and signed up to have our cows bred by the COBA technician. At that time the technician would start out the day with semen from two or three bulls and if he came late in the day to breed a cow, he might only have semen left from one of them. So you didn't always have a choice. We bought our first Holstein cow at a farm auction. She was sold as being registered, however we never received the paper. She was a very nice cow with a beautiful udder and she gave us some really good grade heifers. Changes were on the way, and after purchasing my first Registered Holstein in 1953, we would eventually reach our goal of owning a complete herd of Registered Holsteins.

Like the movies, the breeding of Holsteins has constantly been changing. Today we have numerous AI studs in the business of selling semen to breed our cows. We have the option of collecting young bulls of our own and using them. Semen is available from other countries. We can use sexed semen. The opportunity to flush top cows is available to everyone. In vitro-fertilization is becoming popular. There is a multitude of bulls and bloodlines we can choose from. Holstein breeders have learned how to breed their own cows and implant the embryos. We have records and information of all kinds to help us do a better job in mating our cows. Genomic testing and information is available to us. There are classifiers to help us learn more about our cows, and mating specialists to help make breeding decisions. We have learned how to better feed and care for our cows and in return, they give two to three times, or more, the pounds of milk they gave in the past. There is so much information and knowledge out there, all we have to do is use it!

I have no idea what ever became of my Hopalong Cassidy hat, but Western movies kept improving, and I still enjoy them. Today's Westerns are nothing like those old time movies, and they are no longer just in black and white. Just like the movies, today's Holsteins have kept improving and they are no longer just in black and white either!

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The Red and White Dairy Cattle Association announced the following All-American Awards for Ohio owners: All-American Red and White Winter Calf -- Carhol Redliner Kasyppe-Red owned by Kevin Doeberiener, Michael Heath, and Dean Davis, West Salem. All-American Red and White 5 Year Old Cow -- Starmark AD Hotstuff-Red owned by Nathan Thomas, Michael Heath and Will Iager, Cable.

The following have been nominated for Junior All-American Red and White Awards:

Fall Heifer Calf -- Miss Hot Date-Red-Et owned by Bailee, Calla, Mason, and Matthew Mazzaro, Williamsfield. Spring Yearling Heifer -- Co-Vale Dusk TYA 3845-Red owned by Clay, Cora, Curtis and Carlie Gunkelman, Medina. Fall Yearling Heifer -- Southern Hills Pic Magi-Red owned by Clay Gunkelman, Medina. Fall Yearling Heifer in Milk -- Cameron-Ridge Christmas-Red owned by Sidney and Trey Good, Marysville.

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