By Chas Sisk / The Tennessean
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey may have a lot of clout around the state
Capitol. But by one measure, House Speaker Beth Harwell appears to have
For the second consecutive year, the representative
from Nashville's upscale Green Hills neighborhood managed to upset
Ramsey, a farm boy from rural Sullivan County, in a milk-off Tuesday
between the leaders of the state Senate and House of Representatives.
event highlighted Agriculture Day, an annual event in which the
Department of Agriculture, Tennessee State Fair and other farm-oriented
groups set up shop in the corridors of Legislative Plaza.
went into the contest the underdog, despite having beaten Ramsey in a
goat-milking contest a year ago. That event was marred by allegations
that Harwell had been helped by a House member who surreptitiously
poured a little extra milk in her pail. Smart-phone video confirmed
Emotions have remained raw, raising the stakes
for this year's milk-off, which used cows. Scores of television, news
and personal cameras were at the ready, as the crowd pressed against the
Sitting with his knees beneath a Holstein, Ramsey appeared
to settle into his task easily, milk hitting the galvanized pail
steadily. Harwell struggled a bit to get started with her Brown Swiss
but eventually found a rhythm.
The cows themselves appeared a bit uneasy, kicking over each leader's pail at least once.
result seemed very much in doubt, but a judge announced that Harwell's
take had been greater. Independent observation confirmed that the
contest had been free of cheating.
Harwell was presented the
victor's trophy - a pail, of course. She held it aloft, a look of
triumph and vindication clear on her face.