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Looking Back with Barrie: Dreamstreet Classification and the Colombia Export Deal

Barrie Potter of Syracuse enjoys reminiscing about his early years in the Registered Holstein business, influential cows, and those charismatic icons who kept the business colorful. 

It was classification time at Dreamstreet, and at a normal operation this would be one stop at one farm.  But Dreamstreet was different. There were roughly 1,000 head to get ready at 24 different farms, which required a team of fitters and one boss named Buddy.

Buddy Flemming had hired the usual suspects: Potter, Cooner, Scott Turner, Jerry Young, Mark Crandall and Martha Seifert. “We would start clipping a good two weeks before classification and get one herd done in a day. I was the greenest one of the bunch,” Barrie remarked.  “Of course, the Coach Lamp Inn was our home away from home.”

Buddy liked to keep tabs on the clipping crew and would call the herd manager at each farm and see if the crew had arrived yet.  When Cooner got wind of this, they started getting to the farm at 5 a.m. “Buddy would call the farm manager and ask, ‘Those guys show up yet?’ And when the farm manager said ‘Yes, they got here at 5 a.m.,’ Buddy was always surprised.”

It took two classifiers to knock out the farms. They would score two herds in the morning and two in the afternoon.  “We would wash four herds the day before, so when they scored they would look their best,” Barrie said. The last farm to score was always the Bond farm because that had the best set of cows.

“After classification, Maggie Murphy would show up and we would spend a couple of days picturing all the new excellent cows. We would go to two or three spots to picture and bring the nearby cows to that spot.”

Buddy liked this crew and wanted to keep them around for the summer, so he would hire them to do vacation milking for the employees who wanted some time off. “One of the guys came up to Cooner and said, ‘So, you guys are the vacation milkers?’ And Cooner gave him one of his business cards that said clipping and hoof trimming on it. Then he asked the guy: ‘Does that card say anything about vacation milking?’”

Team C & P

Details were not the forte of Team Cooner and Potter. When it came to moving cows from one farm to another or retrieving heifers from the heifer growers and placing them at the right farm, the books didn’t always balance. Barrie explained, “Dennis Lucas from Montana usually took care of moving cattle from one farm to another, but he went on vacation and Cooner and I had to do it. We had a list of cattle that we moved and then we turned the sheets into the office.

“When Dennis got back from vacation, he said he had cattle he was still trying to locate because the sheets were filled out incorrectly.”

Cattle to Colombia

Dreamstreet, Ruann and Pinehurst all had cattle that were being exported to Colombia.  Buddy called Barrie at 8 o’clock one night and said he had to go to the Newburgh airport (now New York Stewart International Airport) to take care of the export cattle.  “I had just finished a long day working on the farms and didn’t have the chance to change clothes, so with the truck loaded with a milker pump and some supplies that we needed to take care of 40 head of cattle, I got in and drove to Newburgh,” Barrie recalled. 

They arrived at midnight, took care of the cattle and got a room at a nearby motel. Returning to their motel the next day, they found someone else in their room. Buddy was fuming when he approached the front desk clerk and spotted his suitcase behind the counter.  “The desk clerk called around and found a motel with a vacancy and, on the way out to the truck, Buddy threw the room key in the trash can and said, ‘It’ll be a cold day in Hell when I return that room key to them,’” Barrie said.

Duncan Bellinger was in charge of the Colombia export deal.  “Peter Coyne was working for Ruann at the time and he came with those cattle, and when the Dreamstreet cattle arrived, Cooner came too and brought some clean clothes for me.

“We treated these cattle like they were our show string.  We rinsed them down twice a day because it was really hot.  By the time they boarded the plane for Colombia, they were in show shape and looked great.”

After a few days off and a trip back home, Barrie went back to Dreamstreet and made ready to move into the Delaware County show and then on to the New York State Fair.

At the Delaware County show, two herds took up one tent. Stalled head-to-head, Dreamstreet was on one side and Tyrbach Farm was on the other. George Morgan, the original owner of Dreamstreet, now owned Tyrbach and, according to Barrie, “It was an all-out war between the two farms. There was a lot of expensive cows and a whole lot of smack talk.”

According to the show report submitted by Mrs. Herb Hait:

 Judge John Sullivan, LeRoy, NY, found that the competition was strong as 234 head of quality registered Holsteins paraded before him. Dreamstreet Holsteins, Walton, showed the Grand & Reserve Grand entries. Grayview Croquet Convincer, a well-balanced individual with a beautiful udder, became the overall Champion of the day, with Cedar Crag Elevation Sungold named in the Reserve slot. The Shelton Merrett Memorial production trophy also went to Dreamstreet Holsteins to a cow named Schruppdale Astro Hoppie. Premier Breeder for the year was Dairysmith Farm, Franklin, the Donald Smith Family. Tyrbach Farm, Walton, NY, the George Morgan Holstein herd, received the Premier Exhibitor laurels. Best Udder of the show also went to Tyrbach Holsteins. Bedford Farms, Jefferson, exhibited the best animal bred by senior exhibitor with Relay Elevation Mermaid Mary.

Incidentally, Cedar Crag Elevation Sungold was the winner of the dry 3- & 4-year-old class. She freshened again and she would try to anchor the New York State Fair string.

A Discovery on the way to Martha’s Vineyard.

Another excursion with cattle took Barrie to a place he had never been, and has never been again since - Martha’s Vineyard.

Seaside Dairy on Martha’s Vineyard had purchased about 60 head in the Dreamstreet Summer Dream Sale. They wanted to process their own milk and sell ice cream. So, at midnight, Buddy and his gang loaded up two straight trucks and a gooseneck and drove to Woodshole on Cape Cod to get on the passenger ferry.

“But just before we loaded the trucks, Buddy asked if anyone wanted to have a beer. So, we did. One of the truckers was a young guy and was instructed by his boss, ‘Whatever you do, don’t tick Buddy off.’” When Buddy offered him a beer, he took it. Then when Buddy asked if he wanted a second beer, he said yes. “Buddy looked at him and said, ‘Oh no you won’t; this is serious business and these are expensive cattle.’”

Barrie added, “They guy admitted later that he didn’t want the first beer, but he knew he wasn’t supposed to tick Buddy off, so he took it.”

This trip to Martha’s Vineyard was also when he found out a little-known fact about Buddy: “He was awful nervous about getting on that boat and so that’s when I found out Buddy couldn’t swim.”

They got the cattle settled in at Seaside Dairy and didn’t waste any time getting back to Walton. Barrie noted they had taken a cooler with them to Martha’s Vineyard and purchased some fresh lobster. “When we got back to the Coach Lamp, the cook fixed them for us - and we enjoyed a great dinner.”

Reader Comments
Comments posted do not express the viewpoint of Dairy Agenda Today or its staff members.

September, 17 2021
It was 1981.
September, 16 2021
About what year was this?
Pa Breeder
September, 16 2021
Great stories. Great people. Remember Dreamstreet, G. Morgan, pinehurst, Albert,all the great people. This seemed highlight of Holstein Shows. Thank you for great interviews. Nice Reading