Local girl earns 'Topp' title

By: 
JENNA GILBERT
Staff Writer

Showing dairy cows is nothing new for New Bremen senior, Marissa Topp as her family has been raising and showing them her entire life. Last week, however, she brought home a pretty hefty title with her prized cow Wishful Thinking.
She traveled all the way to Madison, Wisconsin to enter 5-year-old Wishful Thinking — owned by her older brother Tanner Topp — into the International Ayrshire Show in the Junior Division at the World Dairy Expo.
Competing against 280 other contestants in total, she brought home the Grand Champion title for the junior show.
“It has the best dairy in the world there,” Topp said. “It really was just crazy to me because there’s people from all around the world. There’s people that come from Mexico, there’s people that come from Canada to go there and show and it’s just crazy.”
This was Topp’s first time showing at the World Dairy Expo — she’s attended previously to watch her brother’s show — which made her win even more special, but not completely surprising. Wishful Thinking has also won Grand Champion at the Ohio State Fair and the Wayne County Fair.
You could say winning is in her blood, literally.
“What made it really crazy, her mom went to the World Dairy Expo and she was Grand Champion in the Ayrshire Junior Show and that was 7 years ago, so in 2011 and my brother was the one that showed her,” she said. “Wishful Thinking is actually my brothers cow but I showed her because I’m a junior through 4-H so it’s kind of cool because it was her daughter that won it several years later.”
Topp also participates in judging through FFA and 4-H and through those she has perfected her understanding of what judges are looking for when she takes her dairy cows to shows. Being raised around dairy cows doesn’t hurt, either.
“In my family, we’ve done it all my life, so we knew she was going to be really good; that’s why we brought her up there,” Topp said. “We don’t take anything we don’t think isn’t going to do well. We thought this year would definitely be her year.”
The competition is steep at the expo, she mentioned, despite the fact anyone can enter the expo. Topp said the last place cows at the expo would win Grand Champion at a state show. It’s something that makes Wishful Thinking’s win more important.
She wasn’t just competing against cows from the United States. Participants from Canada, Mexico, Japan, Colombia and the Netherlands were also in attendance with their best cows, as well.
When it comes to Wishful Thinkings upbringing, Topp mentioned her family kept her on a regimine meant to keep her looking her best for competitions. They had her on a fixed ration of the right diet and milked her regularly.
“... she get’s taken care of like a baby,” Topp said. “She’s special, my family bred her.”
Although Topp is used to showing dairy cows, having also shown Wishful Thinking as a calf and heifer, when it came time to show at the World Expo, she said she definitely has some nerves.
“I was very nervous,” she recalled. “I walked into the ring and the stadium is so [extensive], it’s so big, you just feel super small …
“I got pulled in second, I was second in my class, the cow that beat me was reserve of the open show but I was junior so I won my class, and I was senior champion of the junior show and then I was grand champion of the junior show, it was just crazy.”
Dairy cows is certainly Topp’s favorite animal to show but she’s had experience with steers as well. What she likes most about showing cows — besides the fact she knows so much about them from working with them for most of her life — is being able to bring them home after a show and being able to get more calves out of them. That is something her family plan to with Wishful Thinking very soon, she mentioned.
“We’re IVF-ing her [Tuesday] and we’re going to get eggs out of her so that way she can have more calves and we’ll put them in recipients,” she said. “I’ve always been exposed to it, it’s in my family. I’ve never wanted to go off to anything else.”
She hopes to be able to pursue working with dairy cows as a career, but isn’t too sure which side of the industry she wants to work in. Topp mentioned the dairy industry is not doing well at the moment which is making her look a little more at the business side of it, but she isn’t sure just yet.
The reality of her win is not amiss on her. Seeing her hard work pay off is something she’s taking away from the experience, and offers as advice to others who are working with anything they are passionate about.
“The harder you work, you really do see the results,” she said. “I worked with her and I wanted to do good so I worked with her and worked with her. When you love something just go after it. If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have to do it but I like it.”
She also thanked her family for their support and assisting her with getting Wishful Thinking ready for the shows.

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