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Cows and IronKids hit WA beach in Legendairy show of support

Western Australia’s dairy farmers helped put on a Legendairy display on the beaches of Busselton in December, headlining the Legendairy IronKids event as part of the annual Ironman Western Australia competition.

In a stunning show of support for the local dairy industry, nearly 300 competitors aged eight to 12 were joined on the sandy shore by 12 parading dairy cows and calves, along with 50 dairy industry personnel and an estimated 500 spectators and community members.

“Being involved in Legendairy IronKids is a great way to raise the profile of dairy and show that we’re a key element of the community,” said Western Dairy Executive Officer Esther Price.

“The dairy industry makes a healthy product that helps children to grow and enjoy active lives, so the event was a natural fit.”

Young athletes were given flavoured milk to aid muscle recovery after they finished the event, which included a swim, run and bike ride.

“We handed out over 1400 containers of flavoured milk and yogurt to both the kids and spectators, which was a great chance to drive home the message that milk is a valuable part of exercise as an excellent recovery drink,” Ms Price said.

The message is backed up by the latest science, and many professional athletes around the world are turning to flavoured milk as their first choice for a recovery beverage after exercise instead of traditional sports drinks.

The cow parade, led by local dairy farmers, kicked off the event. Western Dairy Chairman Victor Rodwell, of Boyanup, then started the race with the starter’s whistle in one hand and his five-year-old Holstein, Rose, in the other, who handled the fanfare with great aplomb.

“It was great to be able to showcase our people, animals and industry,” Mr Rodwell said.

“The connection we made with the community was quite inspiring, because there were people who’d never been up close with cattle before. The positive response when they got to know a bit about what we do was quite amazing to see.”
The idea for integrating Legendairy with the IronKids event came from a workshop held by Dairy Australia to brainstorm ideas with WA dairy farmers for regionally focused opportunities to promote the industry.

“It’s a great example of ‘if you can dream it up, we can do it’,” Ms Price said. “We had a group of farmers who came up with some fantastic ideas to connect dairy to the community, and we’re delighted that we could make one of these into such a quick success.”

The crowds were also treated to displays of local dairy products, free information, dairy recipes, and Legendairy merchandise, and hand milking and milking machine demonstrations were given throughout the day. Calves were available for petting and bottle-feeding, and staff from the WA Department of Agriculture and Food also participated in information sessions.

“It was very rewarding to be involved with so many passionate young people in the industry, including dairy staff and researchers,” Mr Rodwell said.