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The cattle for the sales at the National Brown Swiss and Ayrshire Conventions were housed under a viaduct next to the hotel. Photo by Melissa Hart.
Cattle were sold in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel. Photo by Melissa Hart.

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PEORIA, IL -- The Ayrshire and Brown Swiss National Conventions were held recently in Peoria, Illinois. Adults took the spotlight at the 2014 Annual Awards Banquet where breeders were recognized for their success and service.

The Brown Swiss Association kicked off the evening with the recognition of their Brown Swiss Historical Society Awards. The Active Master Breeder Award went to an honoree who spent his entire lifetime on the same farm, Larry Kruse of Earlville, Iowa. Larry and his wife Julie developed the Brown Swiss herd, bred 110 Excellent cows and in 2013 retired selling his herd to his son Rick.

The Historical Master Breeder Award was presented to Leon W. Button of Vine Valley Farm in Rushville, New York. A posthumous award, Leon was honored for his unique herd of Brown Swiss cattle that produced winners in the show ring, lifetime production winners and total performance winners. Today, Leon's son, Leon N. Button is the fifth generation on the 700 acre farm with 260 head of Registered Brown Swiss.

Darrell Wardin of Forest Lawn Farm in Wisconsin was honored with the Distinguished Service Award for his tireless efforts in supporting the Brown Swiss Association.

When the Brown Swiss Association finished handing out their hardware, the Ayrshire Breeders Association took over and awarded their Master Breeder award to Greg Bordchardt of Family Af-Ayr Farm in Caldonia, Illinois.

The Young Leader Award was given to Donna Mertz of Bear Ayr Farm, Neosho, Wisconsin, while the Young Breeder Award went to Ron Hazelton. Illinois Ayrshire breeder and former board of director, Steve McDonald was honored with the Distinguished Service Award for his endless efforts to promote and support the breed.

To raise money for the youth of both breeds, several items were auctioned off and a total of over $16,000 was generated.

The convention ended with the Grand National Ayrshire Sale and the Brown Swiss National Convention Sale held in the ballroom of the hotel. The high seller was Lot 19 for $7,200, Mapleburn Fabiola-ET a summer yearling from Mapleburn Farm in Quebec. She sold to Hall's Ayrshires of Oklahoma. The second high seller was Lot 15 Des Prairies Pandora 4-ET, the first fall calf of the Ayrshire Canada Spring Show. She sold to Steve McDonald of Illinois for $7,000.

The Brown Swiss sale followed and the high seller of the day was Lot 2 at $26,000 New View W Opra-ET. She was consigned by Andrew Nicol of Marysville, Ohio and purchased by John and Bonnie Ayars of Mechanicsburg, Ohio.

The second high seller was Lot 1 at $20,000 Cutting Edge Elite Fayann. Purchased by Ken Main and Peter Vail of Copake, New York she was consigned by Jeff Woods of Wisconsin. Coming in at the third high selling spot was Lot 62 at $16,000 Cutting Edge T Tracy-ET consigned by Ken Main and Peter Vail of Copake, New York.

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