The Tanbark Trail - In It For The Long Haul Milking Shorthorns
There are a few beautiful Milking Shorthorns that have found a home in the Tulare, California, valley amongst almost 10,000 Jerseys and Holsteins at Rancho Teresita Dairy. Michelle and Danny Upchurch and their two children, Tristen and Willow, have housed their animals and worked at the Ranch owned by the Kasbergens since 2013. Danny is the herd manager for the ranch, known on the tanbark trail as Kash-In Jerseys and Holsteins. Along with overseeing herd health for the 5000 milking head dairy, he also manages the IVF satellite facility, which flushes regularly for the ranch and surrounding dairymen every other Wednesday with implanting on the following Thursdays. Both he and Michelle, who works part time to help offset the flush costs of their own animals, take care of all the showstock; washing, clipping and breaking both their own and the Kash-In animals for the show ring. Their two children spend lots of time at the farm helping out with chores. Along with raising Tristen and Willow, Michelle finds time to be a group exercise instructor and Advocare health and wellness coach!
Michelle grew up in Wisconsin, along with her sisters Carrie Ritschard, Tina Mansfield and Lisa Deitelhoff on a grade herd until she purchased her first registered Milking Shorthorn in 1989. She and Danny met in 2010 in Louisville and married in 2011. The children followed shortly in 2012 and 2013. It was their combined backgrounds and Danny’s previous associations with Case and Cornell Kasbergen that brought them to the West Coast. The Kasbergens were developing a show string that needed the experience Danny offered and the move was made.
Included in the move was Michelle’s Milking Shorthorns, one of which was Lola, the All-American Senior Three-Year-Old and Five-Year-Old. She is a 3E-92 Mi-San Acres Ideal daughter out of a former 1998 All-American nominee. Lola has a best record of 9-07 365D 26,300M 1,026F and 764P. She is still alive at 17 years of age and on a permanent flush schedule. Nine Patriot embryos were recently implanted for December calves. She has had eight daughters with All-American or Reserve All-American honors, one of which was Grand at Madison, a Junior Champion and two Reserve Junior Champions at Madison. Lola’s Zeus daughter, Trilow Zeus Lala-ET and her sister were the junior champion combination at the World Dairy Expo in 2016. Lala freshened in July and is showing promise as a Senior Two-Year-Old prospect for this year’s Expo, she is co-owned with Susan Lee. Another show prospect for this year is a fall calf purchased with Susan Lee that came from Nova Scotia sired by Blaine. The dam is out of an Australian bull that is not available in the U.S. called Pringley and is the #13 LPI cow in Canada. One that won’t make this year’s trip is an Excellent Four-Year-Old that was All-American Jr. 2 and HM AA Jr. 3 that is a granddaughter of Dan Sal Megadeth Zena the 2E-94 multiple All-American purchased by Susan and Michelle a few years back. The Megadeth daughter was Intermediate Champion at World Dairy Expo in 2008, All-American as a Junior Three-Year-Old and Five-Year-Old and Reserve All-American as an Aged Cow. Zena has made a tremendous impact through Michelle’s breeding, and most recently Michelle’s sister had great success with Heavenly Zippy, a Patriot granddaughter of Zena.
Along with getting the show strings ready for the fall shows is the challenge of getting them East for the big dances. Prior to the shows, the animals are on their show diets, which includes a probiotic, Lira Gold, and prepped for the travel. Danny plans 48 hours on the road with the show girls stopping three times for chores along the way. As much hay as possible is taken along. Bedding and grain are purchased once they arrive. He has a layover in Cheyenne to allow the animals time off of the trailer, milking and chores and again one more time in Iowa before arriving in Madison on Saturday with the string. Returning to California is the same to alleviate as much stress as possible. When they head to Louisville they take a southern route through Arizona and New Mexico.
One end of one of the barns has been converted into a large box stalls and pack area with a small pasture field for the show cows, both the Kasbergens and Upchurchs animals. A small flat barn for milking and wash area will also be added soon allowing for more individualized care of the show animals from the general population.
It’s no easy feat to have a winner at Expo, let alone multiple ones, but Michelle has definitely invested in a transmitting family that is providing her multiple runs in the winner’s circle and the opportunity to continue to develop those winners at the facilities on Rancho Teresita. Michelle and Danny have found their niche at Ranchero Teresita with the Kasbergens and the opportunity to develop their own award winning herd of Milking Shorthorns.