Jared Christman won a championship two weeks ago with his Lexus.
The Poolesville senior wasn't on a racetrack or at a car show. He was at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair in Gaithersburg. It was there that Christman entered one of his family's 135 cows -- eight-month-old Lexus -- into a contest. With its firm build, smooth fur and healthy gait, Lexus was the Junior Champion of the Holstein Breed.
"A few of my teammates live on horse farms," Christman said. "But they don't understand what goes into taking care of a cow every day. It's not just milking and feeding."
Christman is a third-generation dairy farmer, but just 12 years ago, his parents, Randy and Robin, started breeding cows for the purpose of entering them into competitions like county or state fairs.
"The goal is to get the ones that win," Randy Christman said. "It can take a generation of breeding to get what you want.
"But there's big money in this."
Randy Christman said he was offered $12,000 for a cow just like Lexus. People who buy cows put them in shows for prizes.
But like any champion athlete, award-winning cows aren't born. They're made.
"It's all in the breeding of the cow," Jared Christman said. "You've got to feed her a good diet, a lot of high-protein feeds."
Some of the Christmans' cows are fifth-generation, each one fed and cared for with the goal of creating straight legs, a nice big barrel, with no fat, so you can see its ribs.
Jared Christman is usually at his family's barn each morning at 5:30, milking many of the 61 cows that are two years or older and can produce milk. During the county fair, which coincided with the first week of practice, Christman took care of his sunrise chores, and then headed over to Poolesville for two-a-days.
At the end of the day, he went over to the fair, and stayed until about 10 p.m. This was better than past years, when he would sleep on a cot in the barn with the dozen or so cows the family brought to show.
"It takes a lot out of you," he said.