From HolstienWorld Exclusive
Pennsylvania Juniors with drive and passion for breeding, developing and exhibiting outstanding Holsteins
Last fall brothers, Doug R., 20, and Matt Boop, 17, Millmont, Pennsylvania, each won their class at both the International Junior Show at Madison, Wisconsin, and the Premier National Junior Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, plus Champion honors at Harrisburg. These boys got an early start in the show ring at five years of age, and since have garnered more than 30 Junior All-American Nominations to date.
Their parents are Doug and Jen Boop, and together they operate Heart & Soul Holsteins, a 40-cow Holstein herd with BAA 112.1 (16 EX and 20 VG) and RHA 27,1020M 3.9% 1,070F 3.2% 858P. Doug is also a nutritionist for Renaissance Nutrition. His parents, Gerald and Kathy Ann Boop (prefix J&K-Vue) are retired from milking the cows, but help with the poultry business at the farm.
As we stepped into the barn for the interview and asked about the family roles on the farm, the Boops’ answer was, “Everybody does everything. We all help do whatever needs to get done.” From getting up to check cows during the night for calving, to milking, to mixing feed, to sire selection and caring for show heifers and show cows, they work together to provide the best care for their animals.
How To Breed and Develop a Junior All-American
That’s the question we posed to these young men. Matt’s response was, “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be able to win in the show ring.” Doug agrees and adds, “Breeding a Junior All-American takes a lot of research and patience. Once you breed that animal, taking care of her all year long is the next challenge.”
Where do Boops start? Good cow families. Two cow families dominate the Boop herd - the “Encore Gina” family and the “R” family.
Doug’s most prominent cow is a one of the breed’s new EX-96 cows, J & K-Vue Goldwyn Glamour-ET (2E-96 EX-97-MS @8-03). Her dam is J&K-Vue Encore Gina (EX93). Glamour was the first-place 150,000 Lb. Cow at the International Junior Show 2016 and second in the open show at Madison! Glamour was also Grand Champion at the 2016 Premier National Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. These winnings earned her Junior All-American 150,000 Lb. Cow and High Honorable Mention All-American 150,000 Lb. Cow. Her daughter, Heart & Soul JK Dempsey Glitz, was second Spring Calf International Holstein Show and first at the Eastern National Show last fall. Glitz was just voted the Reserve All-American Spring Calf and Reserve Jr. All-American Spring Calf 2016. Glamour’s EX-93 Jasper daughter was Nominated Junior All-American 4-Year-old 2014.
Encore Gina had another descendant score EX-96 last fall, J&K-Vue Sovereign Gem-ET (EX-96-3E EX-95-MS @9-00)! A granddaughter of Gina, Gem is bred by the Boops and owned by Todd Whittier of Massachusetts.
How did the Boops get into the Gina family? The boys’ grandparents, Gerald and Kathy, were interested in Miss Spirit Goo Goo, who was selling at the Maryland Convention Sale. She was out of Dolafton Rudi Galaxy (EX-CAN) who was Nominated All-Canadian Senior 2-Year-Old 2000. Doug (their father) was traveling and was able to be on his cell phone when Goo Goo entered the sale ring. He bid her to $4900, then lost his cell connection with Dave Lentz in the sale ring. Fearing he wouldn’t get her for his parents, Doug stopped his truck in the road and started backing up until he regained his cell service. He managed to get back to Lentz and place the final bid of $5100. The Boops lost Goo Goo as a young cow, but not before she had Encore Gina (EX-93). Gina had 3 EX and 10 VG daughters. Gina’s family has earned 11 Junior All-American Nominees and three All-American Nominees to date.
The Boops’ “R” family produced Matt’s winning summer yearling at the 2016 International Junior Holstein Show, Heart & Soul Sammy Ricki. She was also sixth in the open show at World Dairy Expo last fall and was named Supreme Champion Heifer at the Premier Junior National Show 2016 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. These wins earned her the Junior All-American Summer Yearling 2016 honors. Ricki is backed by five EX dams, and two of those are EX-94. The “R” family has generated more than 50 All-Pennsylvania winners and 10 Junior All-American Nominations.
The cow that started the “R” family at Boops’ was Garstlyn Broker Reba (EX-93), who they bought for $3200. When the Boops went to look at her, Jen didn’t think she was big enough. They really liked her maternal sister, Garstlyn Encore Rip (EX-95-2E), who was already spoken for. Reba provided them with four EX daughters. One of those is described as their “best brood cow,” J&K-Vue Durham Roxy-ET (EX-90-DOM,) Reba’s daughter by Durham. Durham Roxy was the first Holstein that the Boops bred and owned that won a class at a national show, the New York Spring International Show.
Roxy had seven EX daughters (EX-94 Stormatic, EX-94 Reggie, EX-93 Leduc, EX-92 Gibson, EX-91 Stormatic, EX-91 & EX-90 Sovereigns). The EX-94-DOM Stormatic from Roxy, Heart&Soul CS Roxanna-TW, was flushed to Allegiance, resulting in two EX-94 daughters and two EX-91 daughters! She also had EX daughters by Champion and Final Cut. In the next generation, Heart&Soul Alegnc Ribbon-ET (EX-94) also has seven EX daughters (including an EX-93 Contender, EX-92 and EX-90 Dundees, an EX-91 September Storm, two EX-90 Spirtes, and an EX Advent-Red). Matt’s sixth-place fall yearling at World Dairy Expo is a daughter of the EX-90 Dundee from Ribbon.
Who selects the bulls to be used for each cow? “Doug [father] mostly, but it’s a good discussion,” says Jen. The boys shared that their mother will even go get a bull book during milking if a bull discussion arises. We witnessed Doug and Matt with smiles, enjoying a passionate discussion about bulls with their father. The family camaraderie runs deep. As they mate their cows, Doug says that they continue to look for a balance between angularity and dairy strength in the bloodlines that they use.
The Boops are currently using Dempsey, Diamondback, Gold Chip and Sammy. They select bulls that are over two points on Type, Udder and Feet and Legs. They also look for generations of EX, deep-pedigreed cow families behind the bulls. Sires that have worked well for them in the past 10 years are Dundee, Goldwyn and Durham.
Matt’s summer yearling, Sammy Ricki, is a big, strong, wide heifer and we asked about his plans for her. “The Sammy is due next June to Gold Chip. We used him because we want to dairy her up, and she could be cleaner about the head and neck. And, Gold Chip will make it an easy calving,” Matt explained.
Feeding and Caring for the Show Animals
“You can take the best heifers and if they end up in a bad hotel, they won’t do well. The people taking care of them matters,” says young Doug. “I pay attention to whether they are growing or not, getting heavy, or too thin. They start in groups at a young age so they have to compete. The good heifers will rise to the top. Sometimes we pull a heifer out that needs extra feed to make sure she is getting enough to eat. We are managing these heifers and cows all the time.”
The heifers get a good balanced diet with a high protein pellet (their father formulates their own high protein grain) and timothy hay. The show cows get a good balanced ration with a mixture of dry hay and baleage. The show cows get a little TMR. Jen feeds the calves, and to get them off to the right start, she likes to feed a combination of cow’s milk and milk replacer to the baby calves. By two weeks of age, they want the calves aggressively eating the starter.
Matt says he likes milking and mixing feed for the herd. He also enjoys cleaning and doing field work. He likes and wants to be “a regular dairy farmer.” Doug likes taking care of the heifers and working with the show heifers and show cows. “The unpredictability of working with cows keeps things interesting. I enjoy that there is a different challenge every day,” shares Doug. He is majoring in Animal Science with a business option at Penn State. After college, he plans to take a position that allows him to work away and still be active with the farm.
Both are going to school; Doug is at Penn State and Matt is a senior in high school. Matt works every night after school from 3:00p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the barn. Doug comes home from Penn State every weekend to help. Both young men give credit to their parents for teaching them to work hard.
Matt commented, “Mom and Dad drove me and pushed me, and gave me the drive and passion for animals. We’ve learned that if you put the time in, your hard work will pay off.” With that, he added, “You can’t start working with your show animals two weeks before the show. We work with them all year round. We walk them a lot and come May we wash them every day in the washroom.”
Doug concurred and admitted, “They [potential show heifers and cows] change so much during the year. None of them look like they are ready to go into the ring every day of the year. We need to be patient. It’s important to watch your animals closely to compensate for the changes they are making, in order to keep them looking their best.”
At The Shows
“When we travel to shows, Dad can’t make it, so I take over,” says Doug. “I have done it so much, that now it’s second nature to me.” Their parents smiled and said the boys approach shows differently. “Doug likes it quiet and to be left with the cows. Matt is their public relations manager and likes to meet people.” Yet, when it comes down to it, they added, “Doug likes to go to the shows and Matt likes home best.” Outside of the family, both Doug and Matt give credit to Steve Wagner of Bo-Joy/Graystone Farm, Quarryville, Pennsylvania, for the extra help and insight he’s given them on fitting and getting cattle ready for the ring.
State Winners and Third in Nationals for Dairy Bowl…What’s the Key?
Both Matt and Doug agreed that they take the time and study. We help write questions and Doug collects all the bull information we need to know[G1] . Doug adds, “Understanding the strategy of the game is also important.” When asked who has encouraged them in dairy bowl, they concurred, “Mom! She’s a two-time national dairy bowl champion!” As a youth, she represented Perry County in Pennsylvania at the National Holstein Convention and won both the junior and senior division championships. The boys said, “We call her the ‘Cow Lady’.” They noted that they each has their own style in dairy bowl. Matt likes to jump in early and Doug is more calculated and accurate. Doug and Matt’s Dairy Bowl team was third in the senior division at the National Holstein Convention 2016, and Doug claimed second in the national dairy knowledge contest.
As we drove away from Heart & Soul Farm after our interview, we couldn’t help but smile and agree - yes, this family puts their heart and soul into their Holsteins.
Matt and Doug In the Heifer Barn
Favorite moments for these two: Each of them having a class winner at World Dairy Expo’s Junior Holstein Show in 2016; Doug receiving the Merle Howard Award at Expo and the Judi Collinsworth Award at the All-American Show and Matt winning Supreme Champion Heifer with Ricki at Premier National Junior Show, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
The Boops’ Herd Profile
BAA 112.1 16 EX, 20 VG * RHA 40 cows 27,102 3.9 1070 3.2 858
50 All-Pennsylvania winners (since 2002) * 11 All-American Nominations
28 Junior All-American Nominations * 5 Red & White Junior All-American Nominations