From the Archives: Round Oak Rag Apple ELEVATION - The right bull at the right time

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This article originally appeared in the book "25 Years of Growth to Leadership," the history of Select Sires from 1965 to 1990, by Bernard M. Heisner.

While people are the backbone and decision makers in any organization, in the case of Select Sires a proven male bovine came along at a critical time and may well have influenced many decisions involving Select Sires. That bovine was 7HO58 Round Oak Rag Apple ELEVATION 1491007. He was born on August 30, 1965 in the Round Oak herd in Virginia based on a mating suggested to Ronald Hope by his cousin George Miller. ELEVATION came along at the right time for the Select Sires federation. ELEVATION was owned by Virginia Animal Breeders Association (VABA) and co-proven with Maryland-West Virginia bull stud, an organization that became a part of Sire Power. ELEVATION was just a young unproven sire when VABA joined Select Sires. However, once his first daughters freshened it became obvious that he was something special. In the era of modern sire proving, ELEVATION was the first proven Holstein bull to combine a high production proof with the ability to sire show winning type. In addition, ELEVATION had the ability to produce a large volume of high quality semen. He became the first of only five sires in Select Sires’ first 25 years to sell more than 500,000 units of semen in his lifetime. In a couple of his highest production years he produced more than 100,000 units.


The ability of farmer-members of Select Sires to obtain ELEVATION semen easier than dairymen not served by a member of the Select Sires federation may well have influenced farmer board members when some were talking about leaving the Select family.

Up until the time that ELEVATION came along Select Sires and many of the member organizations were operating with extremely tight budgets. This caused all members of the family to attempt to operate on a shoestring, and point fingers at one another when the end of the year figures did not measure up to the slim positive margin that was budgeted.

Enter ELEVATION  the most popular and respected sire in the Holstein breed — a bull that produced a high volume of semen — a bull whose semen cost the member organizations less than $1.50 a unit (the same as any other proven bull at the time that came through Select’s young sire program) semen that the member organizations could easily sell for $20 then $50 a unit or more. Presto, the financial challenges were lessened and the entire family started getting along together better. Best of all, most of the highly positive Elevation genetics were in the herds of dairymen in the Select Sires federation.

ELEVATION was a superstar and he enhanced Select Sires’ image in a way that could not be duplicated by any advertising campaign.

ELEVATION’s aggressive and unique personality also earned him a special place in the hearts of the people who worked with him in the barn. Thus it was a sad day when ELEVATION was put to rest on April 25, 1979, just four months shy of his 14th birthday. His grave, marked by a headstone etched with his image, is in front of the reflecting pond at the main entrance of Select Sires, a fitting final home for the remains of a sire who probably did more to insure Select Sires’ future success than any other bovine or human.

(Pictured above: Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Hope (left) of Purcelville, Virginia received a special painted portrait of ELEVATION behind ELEVATION's gravestone during the August 1, 1979 Select Sires open house. On hand to assist with the presentation were Robert Rumler of the Holstein Association, Dick Chichester and George Miller of Select Sires.)

(Pictured below: ELEVATION was the reason a CBS television film crew traveled from New York City to interview Dick Chichester regarding the influence ELEVATION had on the bovine world. The day of filming and interviews resulted in having a 10-minute segment of  "The Baby Makers," an hour-long CBS documentary aired the fall of 1979.)

CBS documentary with Elevation

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