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Grimmel girls enjoying a banner show season in ’14
By CARYL VELISEK
Jarrettsville, Md. (Sept. 2) — The Grimmel girls — Michelle, Kristen, Lindsey, Melissa and Madelyn — have had their best year yet in the show ring in 2014.
The five sisters have worked together all of their lives, and all were in 4-H, and the youngest sister, Madelyn, is still a 4-Her.
“Every year since we started showing beef cattle seems to be our best year and seems to top the one before,” Michelle said.
This year Melissa had the grand champion cow-calf at the Hereford Junior National in Harrisburg, Pa., and also champion fall heifer calf, winning the division for the first time at a junior national.
One or another of the Grimmel girls has had a Supreme Champion at the Keystone in Harrisburg and grand champion steer and Supreme Champion beef at the Maryland State Fair.
In addition to the beef cattle, Melissa started showing lambs in 2004. She does the lambs all on her own and had the grand champion market lamb at the 2013 Maryland State Fair.
The family owns more than 1,000 acres near Jarrettsville in Harford County, Md., and their dad, Ed, farms more than 5,000 acres on which they raise corn, beans, wheat, barley, straw, hay, produce and Hereford, Angus and crossbred cattle. They also have a produce stand.
Ed has five sisters, and his own five girls are the fifth generation on the farm, which was established in 1908. The family was dairy farmers until the government buyout in the mid-1980s.
Their mom, Karen, who is a nurse at Gilchrist Hospice in Towson, Md., was a city girl until she married Ed. She has also done the books for the farm.
The family entered the beef cattle business when they purchased a Hereford heifer named Rosebud to be a 4-H project for then 8-year-old Kristen in 1991, and Rosebud blossomed into a passion that all five Grimmel girls share to this day. Now, the family usually keeps about 30 beef cows. They have shown at the Harford County Fair, Maryland State Fair, Keystone and many national shows.
“Our family has shown in 4-H, at the Harford County Fair, for 23 consecutive years, giving Dad no break,” Michelle said, smiling. “And when Melissa showed steers, she won Grand Champion at the county fair every year from 2006 to 2013.”
The cattle have always been a family enterprise.
“Dad loves to watch us show and supports us in every way. The fact that we are all in agriculture makes him happy,” said Michelle, who has been an advisor for the Maryland Junior Hereford Association since 2005 and is a director with the Maryland Hereford Association.
Because both parents were always busy on the farm and raising five daughters, the girls learned very early how to do things on their own, she said.
They learned how to break calves, prepare them for shows and even how to transport them to the shows. Recently, they acquired a new helper, Jacob Wolfrey, who is engaged to marry Michelle in May 2015.
“Jacob, who is from a family that raises and shows beef cattle, is now the manager of the Grimmel girls cattle. He has been a tremendous help, not only with showing the cattle but by bringing a lot of knowledge about the beef business to us,” Michelle said.
Ella, daughter of Kristen and her husband, Jake Deford, will start showing before Madelyn is done with junior shows and is waiting to be the next generation of Grimmel girls in the show ring.
“She loves the cattle and tries to climb into the show ring with them when she’s at the shows,” Michelle said.
Melissa was due to fly back to Kansas State University early last weekend.
“We live this lifestyle because we love it. Having the knowledge and work ethic makes us a success. To succeed in the show ring you first have to win your class. Champions aren’t made in the show ring, they’re recognized there,” she said. “We are truly a team. We help each other and work as a team. And we take credit as a team.”