Three Inducted Into WHA Wall of Fame

The annual Wisconsin Holstein Association (WHA) Adult Holstein Convention was held February 23 and 24. During Saturday’s luncheon, the association honored 40- and 50-year members, outstanding juniors, and the 2024 Wall of Fame Inductees. This year’s inductees were person, John Auestad; bull, Lirr Drew Dempsey; and cow, Inwood Taffy Apollo.

Wall of Fame Cow and Person-Jeff and Kate Hendrickson, Mary Arnold,
and Brooks and Riley Hendrickson

Wall of Fame Person – John Auestad

Born in Norway in 1923, John Auestad immigrated to Wisconsin two years later with his family. After first settling in Dane County, the family moved to a farm in northwestern Green County in the early 1930s. John purchased his first Registered Holsteins from the Elmerbrook herd in nearby New Glarus. He also bought herd sires from Elmerbrook and Baltz Hoesly. John’s breeding philosophy was to breed big as well as strong cows with dairy character. A couple of his favorite bulls were Proven Mtn., Ivanhoe Jewel, Sunnyside Standout, and Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation. He was a believer in the aAa philosophy.
 
Auestad bred 22 Excellent cows at a time when 40 cow herds were the norm. At this time it was rare for any herd to have more than a couple of Excellent cows. He bred seven Gold Medal Dams, eight Dams of Merit, 194 cows over 100,000 lifetime, seven cows over 200,000, as well as one over 300,000. He was a recipient of the Progressive Breeder Registry award multiple times. Cattle were exhibited at the Green County Fair, District 6 Show, State Show, Wisconsin Junior State Fair, and also World Dairy Expo. The Inwood herd was dispersed in 1983 with an average of $3490 on 90 head. 
 
After the sale, Auestad went into partnership with Gary Dammen and they farmed the Inwood-Hill prefix, developing another high-quality herd. Gary and his wife Amy bought Auestad out in 1993. 
 
Beyond being a Holstein breeder, Auestad was a public servant. He was a 4-H dairy leader and also served on several boards including Green County Holstein Breeders, Green County DHI, Federal Land Bank, AMPI and East Central Select Sires and the sire committee for Select Sires. He received the prestigious Pioneer Award from East Central Select Sires. The list continues with the Adams Township board where he served as clerk, Adams Lutheran Church Council and the Homestead Club. He was a selector for the Heart of the Wheel Sale for many years. 

Wall of Fame Cow – Inwood Taffy Apollo

Inwood Taffy Apollo became a foundation cow for Jeff and Kate Hendrickson of Jeffrey-Way Holsteins, Belleville. Jeff made the purchase of a lifetime in 1983 when his former boss and mentor, John Auestad, held a sale at his farm. Taffy was a second lactation Wayne-Spring Fond Apollo, out of a VG-88 Hagemans Tempo. Taffy developed into a great cow – classifying EX-93 and earning both Gold Medal Dam and Dam of Merit status. The branches of this family are vast and each has made an impact on the herd at Jeffrey-Way and around the world. 
 
Taffy’s daughter by Walkway Chief Mark, Jeffrey-Way Mark Trudy, was EX-91 and the first cow to draw AI interest on the farm. Her daughter, Jeffrey-Way Mascot Tina-ET 3E-91 GMD DOM, kick-started the Jeffrey-Way marketing program with 22 sons going into AI and over 100 embryos sold. Three of her bulls went to Japan and she also has 20 VG and three EX daughters.  
 
One branch of this family stems from one of Tina’s daughters – EX-93 Luke Tripoli. From Tripoli was the EX-93 2E GMD DOM Format Tate, a Formation daughter. In 2006 Tate was nominated for Holstein International’s Global Cow of the Year. She had 10 EX daughters – two at 94, three at 93, two at 92, two at 91 and one at 90. One of those EX daughters was Manat Terra EX-94 4E GMD DOM with a lifetime record of 296,470 milk with 4.3% fat and 3.4% protein. Her bull Toplevel, sired by Bellwood Marshall, was in the Semex USA lineup for quite some time. Tate’s grandson by Goldwyn, Go-Farm Artes, had tremendous success in Italy.  
 
Along with being top type and production cows, the T family has also produced show winners for the Hendrickson family and beyond. Jeff and Kate’s granddaughter Emma and Jeffrey-Way Drman Tavor-ET teamed up to win Junior Champion of the International Junior Holstein Show in 2021. Tavor was Junior All-American and also HM All-American Summer Yearling that year. She’s a Doorman from a Corvette back to Format Tate. Jeffrey-Way Hard Rock Twigs EX-92 who is now owned by Doeberiener, Bowen, and also Conroy of Ohio was nominated All American Senior 3-Year-Old and was Honorable Mention Grand Champion of the Royal Winter Fair. Twigs is from the Format Tate line of the family. 

Seated-Robert and Randy Nigh, Kelsey and Ryan Nigh

Wall of Fame Bull – Lirr Drew Dempsey

Lirr Drew Dempsey has sired multiple familiar show cows around the world as well as cows that breeders love to milk. Dempsey was bred by Ryan, Robert, and Randy Nigh of Viroqua. His Derry dam was bred by Brad Kerndt of Waukon, Iowa. She was purchased by Robert’s son Ryan at a Minnesota Spring Sale as a project heifer and would eventually score VG-88. Born in December of 2005, Dempsey was one of the earliest Goldwyn sons at Select Sires in 2006.

Dempsey came on to the progeny-proven lineup in December 2010 and graduated as the #6 PTAT sire in the breed. With 36,484 scored daughters, Dempsey has made an impact on dairy breeding around the world. He sold 593,452 units globally in his career, making him Goldwyn’s most successful sire in history at Select Sires. Dempsey produced cows with extreme components and terrific udders. Even today, Dempsey’s daughters can be found in the aged and production cow classes in shows around the world.