BERRIEN SPRINGS — Jack Elliot thought he’d maybe raise $3,000 on a gallon of milk from his grand champion dairy cow at this year’s Berrien County Youth Fair.
“We exceeded that by a lot. It was very exciting,” he said Friday.
By a lot, he means $5,000, higher than the last couple of gallon of milk auctions at the fair. The gallon of milk went for $2,240 in 2019 and $3,000 in 2018.
Fifty percent of the $5,000 goes to Jack, a soon-to-be junior at Berrien Springs High School, and the other 50 percent goes to the dairy barn. That’s how the barn is maintained each year.
This year’s champion dairy cow, Rockette, is a 3-year-old Jersey. She produced 15,000 pounds of milk last year.
“She is the ‘Queen of the Fair,’ as we like to call her in the dairy barn,” announcer Dale Young said before the auction.
Jack lives in Baroda and plays tennis and hockey when he’s not showing animals at the fair.
“I’ve been showing since I was 5 years old. I did pigs until I was about 10 and now we show dairy and goats,” Jack said.
After the auction on Friday, Aug. 20, Jack could be found chugging some milk in the dairy barn with a crowd of friends around him.
He said the best part about showing at the fair is hanging out with friends.
“And seeing people walk by and be amazed by the cows, saying the brown ones give out chocolate milk,” Jack said.
When Rockette was named grand champion dairy earlier this week, Jack said was shocked and surprised.
“It felt like relief. If felt like the job was finished,” he said.
Eliott and Rockette were part of the Shuler Dair Farm group that brought nine exhibitors and 12 animals to the 2021 Youth Fair.
Dylan Crocker, 20, of Galien showed the grand champion beef animal this year.
His steer was 1,400 pounds and sold for $3.25 a pound to the top bidder, the Reyes Adent Family Foundation.
Crocker said it was the first time he has brought a grand champion animal ("JCash") to the Youth Fair, adding that the steer has been to shows in places such as Viriginia and Kentucky.
"He's been all over, so we knew coming in that maybe we had a shot at it."