The battle of the Century could be taking shape, Rick Bussler vs. Howard Lestrud.
After Steele County Times publisher Rick Bussler recounted his fate (not Kay Fate) in a Steele County Free Fair Milking Contest, I, Howard Lestrud, a former publisher and now a freelance writer for the Times, thought it was time to promote a real milking contest.
I have laid the gauntlet at the slippery hands of Rick the Publisher.
In his Aug. 25, Hot Pursuit column, Rick said he had never milked a cow before. That's still true because he milked a fake cow (Bella) in the Steele County Free Fair contest sponsored by the American Dairy Association.
This contest would feature a real live cow.
I have never competed in a milking contest but I do have the experience of milking real live cows when I lived on a small dairy farm, two miles west of Corning on Highway 251.
My parents owned 15 dairy cows and I was part of my parents' team to milk the cows twice daily, by hand. My parents did have milking machines at one time but placed them in retirement in the attic of our farm home.
Mom and dad believed our cows, all Guernsey except one Holstein, produced better when milked by hand. The milk was then picked up by a local milk hauler and taken to the Red Oak Grove Creamery in Corning.
There was a real routine to be followed on our farm when we milked cows by hand. Mom, Dad and I would pick out our favorite milk stool (some crafted by me at a young age).
We had a rotation we followed so we wouldn't be side by side with one another.
I had one cow, named Bloopy, who liked me as her BIG SQUEEZE. She would let her milk down for me but would hold it when milked by Mom or Dad.
There were challenges on the milking circuit with a cow named Ginger. She was very frisky, so frisky that we had to put chains on her back legs so she wouldn't kick us during the milking experience.
Ginger detested milking time. Seated before Ginger, I began milking. Guess what? She jumped and kicked with the restrainer on her and ended getting both rear feet in chains into the milk pail.
Thankfully, the negative experiences were outweighed by the positive ones. This isn't a joking experience, but I do remember helping Dad birth a calf.
Back to the Dairy Rumble between Bussler and myself.
I propose it be held at an American Dairy Association event in June (Dairy Month) next year. This will give the two contestants time to train for the Thriller in someone's dairy barn.
I also propose that the contest involve real cows and the length of the contest be expanded from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Combatants would secure pledges from supporters in the form of a financial donation.
Judges could be named from a group of dairy princesses, past and present.
The contest shall be in two parts, first round without blindfolds and second round, also one minute, with blindfolds.
Winner of the contest will donate monies to a favorite charity.
This challenge was given to Bussler before it appeared in the printing of this column.
I am now in Hot Pursuit of having Publisher Bussler accept the challenge. If Bussler accepts the challenge, more planning of this dairy happening must be done.
If interested in promoting this once in a lifetime duel, please contact Howard (Reflections) or Rick (Hot Pursuit).