Kyle Mitchell Awards

Kyle Mitchell Memorial Award
At the 2009 Junior Spring Thing meeting, the annual Kyle Mitchell Memorial Awards were presented to three Illinois Junior Holsteins members, in memory of late Junor member, Kyle Mitchell of Winnebago. Below are excerpts of the presentation given in its inaugural year, prepared by Junior Advisor, Melissa Irwin.

“It is both a pleasure and a challenge for me to introduce an award being offered to IJHA members. [In 2008] our association has lost one of its favorite members. In response to that the juniors at the fall meeting decided to start a new award in memory of Kyle Mitchell. At the December committee meetings this was discussed further and it was decided that a traveling plaque would be awarded as well as something for the recipient to keep. A special thanks goes out to Becky Meier, Lorilee Schultz, Brian Olbrich, and Kathy Miller for assisting me with the development of the award and the criteria by which the nominees would be judged and for nominating five well rounded young people for the award.
First, lets remember Kyle. The Mitchell family lives in Winnebago, Ill., and they have a herd of 110 cows and they farm 1600 acres. The family has been very active in Holstein and other dairy related organizations for many years. Unfortunately, last July Kyle and his father Mike died from Methane poisoning in the manure pit. It was indeed a tragedy. Something so horrible should not happen to such wonderful people. So let Kyle and Mike’s death just simply remind us to be careful on the farm and also to not take life for granted. With much determination Jan, John, and Aaron are continuing to dairy.
The Mitchell’s participated in many activities as a family. They had the opportunity to spend time together at a number of National Conventions and Mike and Jan love to be there to cheer on their boys. Dairy bowl and Dairy Jeopardy were a favorite activity for the Mitchell family. In 2007, Kyle received an award for having a cow that produced over 200,000 lbs of milk, what an accomplishment!
Kyle was always very dedicated. He was a good student, athlete, band member and had a wonderful personality. One of his favorite actives was dairy bowl. What a competitor he was. He was dedicated to studying and preparing for contests and was very knowledge and quick on the buzzer. It was fun to watch him as he was confident and knowledgeable.
The committee who put the criteria together for this award really tried to focus on Kyle and the attributes that made him an outstanding member of the Junior Holstein organization.
*Encompasses complete junior career
*Fully participates in activities
*Mentors younger members
Kyle’s mom, Jan, mentioned to me that Kyle didn’t care who you were but as long as you played his game whether it be soccer, band or dairy bowl, he accepted you. How true that was. He always welcomed new members into dairy bowl and made them feel a part of the group.
One of the biggest focuses of the committee was on Kyle’s positive attitude. Everyone who knew him knew he had a very positive outlook on life. He used that positive attitude to be a good leader. Although he didn’t hold any state junior office he was involved in many activities like Spring Thing, Conventions, showing, and fundraising.
Kyle indeed had many attributes which showed his genuine character. Indeed he was a well rounded individual. But, one thing we all know for sure was the Kyle could sure be a character. He had a way of making people laugh and helping contestants to relax when the competition got tough. We are all better for having known Kyle and he will be missed.”

Nominations due February 1
Send to: John Mitchell, 2917 Westfield Rd., Winnebago, IL 61088
Phone: 815-703-5614  Email:

Kyle Mitchell Dairy Bowl Awards
The Boone-Winnebago Holstein Club established an award in 2009 in memory of Kyle Mitchell. The award is presented to the high junior and senior dairy bowl contestants, based upon their written test score, competition results and final round competition.

Kyle Mitchell Memorial & Dairy Bowl Award Winners
2023 – Drew Lueking, Centralia (Jr) & Magen Busker, Ridott & Justin Irwin, Belvidere (Sr)
2022 – Drew Lueking, Centralia (Jr) & Briley Lenkaitis, Eldorado (Sr)
2021 – Drew Lueking, Centralia (Jr) & Addie Raber, Gridley (Sr)
2020 – Drew Lueking, Centralia (Jr) & Addie Raber, Gridley (Sr)
2019 – Connor Erbsen, Lanark
2018 – Brock Irwin, Belvidere
2017 – Riley Zettle, Rock City, Brady Heinzmann, Carlyle (Jr) & Riley Zettle, Rock City (Sr)
2016 – Emily Irwin, Belvidere, Payton Erbsen, Lanark (Jr) & Brock Irwin, Belvidere (Sr)
2015 – Ryan Sheehan, Huntley, Connor Erbsen, Lanark (Jr) & Ryan Sheehan, Huntley (Sr)
2014 – Dylan Reed, Vandalia, Connor Erbsen, Lanark (Jr) & Dylan Reed, Vandalia (Sr)
2013 – Sarah Sheehan, Huntley, Jordan Oellerich, Lena (Jr) & Dylan Reed, Vandalia (Sr)
2012 – Emily Irwin, Belvidere (Jr) & Aaron Mitchell, Winnebago (Sr)
2011 – Aaron Mitchell, Winnebago, Emily Irwin, Belvidere (Jr) & Aaron Mitchell, Winnebago (Sr)
2010 – Emily Lyons, Rockford, Morgan Bollech, Kingston (Jr) & Emily Lyons, Rockford (Sr)
2009 – Kelly Sheehan, Huntley, Justin Crull, Poplar Grove (Jr) & Chris Kollmann, New Baden (Sr)