News Release

Thursday, October 5, 2023

CONTACT: Lisa Behnke, Communications Manager,
                   Jenna Langrehr, Communications Specialist,
PHONE:      608-224-6455

California Holstein Breeder Wins the 2023 Klussendorf Award

MADISON, WIS. – Joey Airoso of Pixley, Calif., was presented the 81st Klussendorf Award, the highest recognition given to a dairy cattle showman in the United States during the 56th World Dairy Expo. Airoso certainly has all the attributes of previous Klussendorf winners with the qualities of character, sportsmanship, ability, and endeavor.

The award is given in memory of Arthur B. Klussendorf, considered an outstanding showman of his time and a model for all those who have followed him. This year’s selection was made by members of the Klussendorf Memorial Association, formed in 1937, at its annual meeting held earlier this week in Madison, Wis. Airoso received the silver trophy designed by Tiffany Jewelers of New York City.

Airoso is a fourth-generation dairyman who manages one of the nation’s largest Registered Holstein herds. He is the managing partner for the family farm that milks an outstanding group of 2,600 cows and farms 1,600 hundred acres of alfalfa, corn, and wheat in California’s Central Valley. As nominators Stuart Row, Gilbert Texiera, and Ken Melvold and past Klussendorf winners shared, “One would be hard-pressed to find a more popular person showing cattle with his engaging personality and willingness to help anyone in need at a show.”

For nearly 60 years, this Pixley, Calif., native has shown cattle throughout the West Coast and has made several trips east to World Dairy Expo. His accomplishments include showing numerous All-California winners, a number of Western National Champions, and several All-American nominations over the last four decades. An accomplished showman, Airoso has been acknowledged by his peers by being awarded the coveted Al Hay Award at the Western National Show and was named the California State Fair Livestock Man of the Year in 2017. Airoso has judged numerous shows throughout the United Stated including the Wisconsin State Fair Junior Holstein Show, the largest Holstein show in North America.

A tremendous supporter of youth, Airoso was an instrumental servant leader who stepped up to create a win after the Western Livestock Show was canceled in 2012 due to lack of funding from the State of California. Not wanting to see this event go away, Airoso and other members of the South Joaquin Holstein Association came through to breathe life into the Western Classic Dairy Show. Now held annually in Tulare, California, the event has become the largest junior dairy cattle show in California and attracts over 300 head exhibited by 200 juniors ages five to 21. 

The Klussendorf Award was developed to recognize those who exemplify a person with great character, sportsmanship, and dedication to dairy cattle shows. Joey Airoso certainly has all these attributes, and that is why he was selected as the 81st Klussendorf winner.

The Klussendorf Memorial Association, considered by many as the Hall of Fame for dairy cattle exhibitors, began in 1937 in memory of Arthur B. Klussendorf, considered the outstanding dairy cattle showman of his time. Each year, the Klussendorf Association votes to add a new dairy cattle exhibitor to its rolls with lifetime membership for their cumulative works.