Beaver-Lawrence Holstein Club celebrates past, looks to future

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NEW CASTLE, Pa. – History was remembered and made at the 50th anniversary annual meeting of the Beaver-Lawrence Holstein Club March 3 in New Castle.

Members gathered to recognize those who were influential in the club’s early years and to honor current junior members’ accomplishments over the past year.

Celebrating the past 50 years, longtime member Tim Sturgeon presented a timeline of the club’s accomplishments.

The first meeting, of what was originally called the Holstein-Friesian Cattle Club, was May 2, 1950. Founding members, such as the late John Benson and Francis McChesney, were recognized for their outstanding representation of the club on local and state committees.

The first annual meeting took place Nov. 17, 1950, at the Beaver Grange Hall, where, in a strong support of young people, members voted to provide each county’s youth with livestock transportation to shows.

In contrast to the balance 50 years later, the total of the treasurer’s report was $4.75.

By 1953, the club had 56 members and three years later, Beaver and Lawrence counties had 63 registered dairy herds. 1960 showed a dramatic increase to 97 members in the two counties.

The club sent its first representative to the national convention in 1967, and held its first calf sale.

It was also in this year that the members began to meet in the Tri-Farmer Hall. Chuckles could be heard from those who had attended these gatherings, as Sturgeon related how members had the choice of one couch, one chair and any number of overturned buckets for seats.

Over the next 10 years, several events were established that have continued to be traditions of the club, such as the Christmas party, a calf raffle and the dairy princess pageant. At least seven or eight former princesses were present at the festivities as well as current Beaver-Lawrence Dairy Princess Desarai Oshop.

Youth have always been a concern for the club and in 1989, Paula Wack founded the junior club to promote the dairy industry by educating members in everything from successful dairy showing to public speaking.

Over the last 12 years, the Beaver-Lawrence Junior Holstein Club has helped develop many promising members who are already a benefit to the dairy industry.

At this year’s meeting, Wack announced this will be her last year as the junior club leader, as she devotes more time to pursue a business.

Reatha Bonzo, one of the earliest members present at the annual meeting, believes the Holstein club’s most important accomplishment has been getting junior members involved.

Other speakers for the evening had high praise for the club’s accomplishments. Dean Johnson, president of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association, gave an update on the activities of the statewide dairy producers. Ken Raney, PHA executive vice president and descendent of founding member John Benson, gave a report on the international business and congratulated those present for “50 years of activity and interest” in the dairy business.

To round out the evening, youth who had received awards during the year were recognized.

Carrie Wack was honored for receiving state recognition as Junior Distinguished Member in 2000, as was Amy Lawrence, a finalist in 2001.

Winners of the milk, fat and protein contest were also honored. Two-year-old milk, fat and protein production awards were presented to Carrie Wack, who also received state recognition for her cow producing 30,000 pounds.

In the 3-year-old cow division, fat production awards went to Eric Lawrence and Zac Bonzo received the plaque for milk and protein. Justin Martin received the milk, fat and protein production awards in the 4-year-old division.

Champion Holsteins in Beaver and Lawrence counties were recognized as well. In Beaver County, the junior champion went to Taylor Weldon and senior and grand Champion was awarded to Neil Bonzo.

In Lawrence County, Lindsey Beatty won junior champion and Amy Lawrence, senior and grand champion.

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