Boldfingers says milking contest was obviously rigged

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2000

In the annals of Dairy Days celebrations, this year’s was one of them.

Thursday, June 15, 2000

In the annals of Dairy Days celebrations, this year’s was one of them.

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If it sounds like I’m a sore loser, well, I am.

I had more important things to do last Sunday night than make a fool of myself at the milking contest, but, good guy that I am, I accepted Shari Heimer’s offer to participate.

Adams folks are getting a little testy at those jokes I write about some of the community’s more famous residents. That was evident when I arrived in Adams last Sunday afternoon to witness the annual Dairy Days parade.

No sooner had I got out of the car than Gary Harrison attempted to arrest me. He didn’t even bother to read me my rights. Fortunately, I was able to talk my way out of this one, and Gary let me go with a warning.

My granddaughter, DeeDee, and I settled into place at our favorite street corner and watched the parade.

When Russ Retterath hollered at me from his Adams Builders Supply float, it was either, "Hey, Bonorden! Keep up the good work" or "Hey, Bonorden! You’re a jerk." I couldn’t tell which.

All day long, I could feel the tension building. The anticipation and a nervous anxiety crept into my space that I couldn’t ignore. As dusk drew nearer, I washed my hands several times, practiced my technique and adjusted my genuine REAL® dairy cap on my head and said to the face in the mirror, "Let’s do it."

Grabbing the grandchildren, we drove to Adams for the annual milking contest.

Arriving in Adams, we went immediately to the elevator where a crowd was gathering to see Tom Mullenbach’s new girlfriend.

Lynn and Jane Sathre have taken over the milking contest since the death of the much-loved Paul Smith.

Tabitha returned for the fourth straight year. The Holstein owned by Steve Reinartz is one of the gentlest cows around.

Amanda Rice, the reigning Dairy Princes was there to compete. So were her attendants Heather Irvin and Ashley Miller.

Another celebrity contestant, Gwen Fallgren, a KTTC television news anchor person, schmoozed with Lynn Sathre over how to milk a cow.

Meanwhile, I just hung back, flexing the fingers on my hands, ready to show the world how it’s done. Mr. Retterath was nearby. "You ain’t got a chance. No outsider has ever won this contest," he said to me.

Amanda Rice, the Dairy Princess, got to go first, but Boldfingers Bonorden went second.

Alas, Mr. Retterath was right. As soon as Amanda Rice finished her sixty seconds of milking, the cow’s udder looked smaller than a minute earlier. Then, it was my turn.

I repeated over and over in my mind "Pull and squeeze, pull and squeeze." Then, I blew into my hands to ensure they were warm and grabbed a teat in each and promptly … squeezed and pulled, squeezed and pulled. I choked and got my technique backwards.

Nothing happened, except when Tabitha turned her head and looked at me. I could have swore she was smiling.

The crowd hooted and hollered and I thought Lynn Sathre would collapse in convulsions.

The rest of the contest was a blur. Afterwards, I sulked on the sidelines and even my grandchildren heckled me. "You looked pretty funny up there milking that cow, Papa," said my grandson. Even Mr. Retterath couldn’t resist another observation. "You didn’t have a chance against those dairy princesses," he said. Mr. Mullenbach just shook his head and smiled.

Things went from bad to worse after that.

Heather Irvin and Ashley Miller each stoked milked from the cow. The television talking head, Gwen Fallgren even got a little out of Tabitha. Then, Lynn and Jane Sathre had the great idea to invite Kyleigh Reinartz, 4-year-old daughter of Mike and Kim, to milk the cow, too. Her dad is an AMPI milk hauler and sure enough, she got milk.

Thoroughly humiliated, I was ready to go home. "What goes around comes around, Bonorden," Mr. Retterath said. "I guess Adams got a little revenge on you tonight, didn’t they?" said Mr. Mullenbach. "Don’t call us. We’ll call you if we need you to enter the milking contest again," said Mr. Sathre. "Serves you right. There are an awful lot of Kiefers and Mullenbachs, who would like to kick your …" as if Shari Heimer’s words weren’t bad enough, even the grandchildren turned on me.

"I thought you said you were going to win and be a big hero or something?" asked DeeDee, the way-too-precocious one.

"Obviously, the contest was rigged, kids," I told them. "Whoever heard of getting milk from a cow? Everybody in Austin knows it comes from the supermarket."