When you’re driving through the neighborhoods of Woodville, you may notice the replica of a beautiful cow standing proudly outside one resident’s home. The owner of that replica, and breeder of Pixie, the cow that inspired the replica, is Randy Peterson who has dedicated his life to breeding and showing cows in state and national showing events.
“I’ve been showing since 1983 and I grew up with Guernseys when I was in 4-H,” says Peterson, “I’ve been around them basically all of my life.” His replica of Pixie is just the beginning of what Peterson has to show for his years in breeding and showing. Stepping into his basement allows someone to really understand the passion and progress Peterson has culminated over a lifetime of passion.
“You probably won’t see many places like this,” says Peterson walking into a back office room covered wall to wall in various awards, ribbons and pictures of his prized animals. Some of those awards include Minnesota State Fair Grand Champion Guernsey, Junior Dairy Champion at the Wisconsin State Fair, and Premier Exhibitor at the Guernsey Breeders Association State Show to name only a few. Perhaps one of the most successful years for Randy Peterson, his family and his Guernsey, Pixie, was in 2012 when they received the coveted title of Grand Champion at the World Dairy Expo.
“Any award she could have won that year, she did.” Said Peterson, “We really have pride in that because… those are our homebred cows, you know?” Taking pride in those homebred cows is something that Peterson was most recently recognized for when he received the American Guernsey Association’s 2018 Master Breeder Award. According to the American Guernsey Association, “Each year the AGA recognizes on individual or partnership that has contributed to the Guernsey breed in the United States by breeding outstanding animals for many years.”
Peterson’s contributions to the Guernsey breed over his many years are undoubted in this award and his friend Tracy Mitchell who also shows cows along with her daughters can attest to his dedication. “Randy is always there,” she said, “he’s always been a mentor to everybody in the county and all over the state really – especially for the Guernsey breed.” During an event where Mitchell’s daughters were low on numbers of cows to show, Peterson had no issue providing some of his prize cows to them for the event. “He trusted us with his animals,” she said, “that’s a big compliment for him to let us present his animals on a big stage like that, so we have also benefited from Randy and his family.”
Despite undergoing some recent medical procedures, Peterson does everything he can to stay involved in breeding and showing. “When Baldwin started their mentoring program about 30 years ago I was one of the original mentors,” he said, “I did it until two years ago. One of them I mentored was a Woodville police officer in town and another one was Nathan Thompson, the Baldwin-Woodville Salutatorian this year.”
Peterson’s most recent award is representative of the time and dedication he has put into the breeding and showing of Guernsey cows and the community altogether. If one thing is clear, his passion for these animals shows no signs of stopping any time soon. “I drastically miss the cows,” he says, “but that’s why I stay involved. I’ll keep doing this as long as I can.”