Four humans. Four bovines. Four minutes. One bucket. The "udderly" entertaining Green County Cheese Days Cow Milking Contest is back by popular demand, and Alice in Dairyland will be traveling to Monroe to join the competition with a team of ladies who wear crowns as they work to promote agriculture in Wisconsin.
Alice in Dairyland Rochelle Ripp will be part of "Team Tiara" - consisting of Brianna Ditzenberger (Cheese Days Ambassador), Tess Zettle (Green County Fairest of the Fair), and Taylor Behnke (Green County Dairy Queen) for the contest set to take place during the Cheese Days festival on Saturday, Sept. 15 beginning at 1 p.m.
Other teams of four are invited to register in advance. Teams in the past have included experienced milkers, those representing businesses or organizations, and schools groups. Teams can show their spirit by following a theme, wearing team shirts, or costumes. Cheerleaders are welcome! Festival goers in the audience can also sign up starting at noon for a lottery-type drawing to take a turn if time allows. All participants receive discount coupons for the Cheese Tent.
New this year at the contest will be a "meet and greet bull pen" where festival goers can see the various dairy breeds as they wait their turns. Green County is home to seven different breeds of dairy cattle. On display will be Brown Swiss, Jersey, Guernsey, Holstein, Red and White Holstein, Ayrshire, and Milking Shorthorn - all making the trip from Green County farms to star in the show.
To register a team, contact Kelsi Mayer at 608-290-5855, or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org with group/team name, individual team member names, and phone number of team captain.
Jillian, a 5-year old Milking Shorthorn who was recently named Reserve Grand Champion at the Wisconsin State Fair, has been selected to participate in this year's Cheese Days Cow Milking Contest taking place on Saturday, Sept. 15. Carrie Ritschard and fiancé Jeremy Davis milk a herd of 100 - including both Jerseys and Milking Shorthorns - at their farm "Heavenly Show Cattle" southwest of Monroe.
One of the seven dairy breeds that can be found in Green County, Milking Shorthorns are very efficient at converting nutrients into milk, and have the highest protein to fat ratio of the dairy breeds - therefore making an excellent conversion to cheese produced in Green County. "They're also a smaller cow that eats less," says Ritschard, "which is something to consider when you're buying all your feed."
Ritschard, who grew up on a dairy farm and bought the herd in 2003, has a natural preference for "cows of color" like those in her herd that range from warm reddish brown, to creamy tan with darker brown accents, and everything in between.
Does Ritschard know how to milk cows by hand? You bet! "One time we had five cows left when the power went out, and it took us an hour and a half to finish!"
Look for Jillian, along with Healty (another Milking Shorthorn from Ritschard's herd) at the Cow Milking Contest on Saturday. The Green County Cheese Days festival takes place September 14 - 16 in downtown Monroe.
For more information, visit www.cheesedays.com or call 1-800-307-7208 to request a brochure by mail.