There’s nothing quite like the love between a girl and her dairy cow — especially when that love began nearly 15 years ago.
Geneva Nunes and her dairy cow, Diamond, have been a duo since Nunes was 5 years old. She will show Diamond for the umpteenth time this week at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, along with countless other junior stock show competitors.
Swine, poultry, horses, small animals, sheep, beef cattle, rabbits, dogs, cats and goat competitors will join dairy cattle contenders and their handlers like Nunes to show animals they painstakingly cared for all year. Nunes will show dairy cattle on Thursday and Saturday, she said, while also getting a family friend, Julia Young, 16, from Michigan, to join in on the showing fun for the first time on Saturday.
Young has been watching and learning about the art, and though she’s a bit nervous, she’s also excited to show off dairy cow Jubilee.
The best part about showing dairy cattle, Nunes said, is that she doesn’t have to sell Diamond when she finishes. Instead, the duo get to go home and prepare for next year.
Nunes did see the appeal in selling the farm animals at the fair; the profit makes the hard work worth it.
But sometimes companionship is worth the cost.
The pair have become well-known around the fair, as many will recognize Diamond, a gentle cow whom Nunes and family friend from Germany, Alina Stoecker, 19, were lying on Wednesday afternoon as they cooled down and relaxed at the fair. Young, Nunes and Stoecker leaned on and between two cows resting on piles of hay Wednesday, taking a break from the fair’s festivities.
Stoecker is visiting the Nunes family this summer, learning more about northern Wisconsin farming on their farm, Scientific Holsteins, before touring North America. Stoecker isn’t new to the cattle-showing world, though; she has shown dairy cows home in Germany.
The trick, Nunes said, is to just be nonchalant around your dairy cow.
“It’s a lot of fun. (It’s) not all that hard once your comfortable with your cow,” Nunes said, lounging against Diamond as the cow ate an afternoon snack in the cool of the cattle barn. Every so often, Diamond would whip her head around, looking at the excitement around her, but without fail, Nunes would reach behind her, offering Diamond a gentle pat on the head.
“I really like it,” Nunes said. “It’s kind of like she’s my pet.”
To see a full schedule of Northern Wisconsin State Fair events, including the junior stock shows, visit www.nwsfa.com.