EVERSON — There’s a new celebrity in town.
Sabrina, the cow, has been cast for the reality show “Alaskan Bush People.” The documentary-style show airs on the Discovery channel and focuses on the lives of the Browns, a family living off of the land in a desolate region in Alaska.
On Aug. 12, Sabrina’s owner, Jan Wolfisberg, made the journey to take Sabrina to her new home in a much colder climate. The pair traveled over 1,600 miles by car and ferry to Juneau, Alaska. Jan Wolfisberg then stayed with the family and crew to teach them how to properly care for the prize-winning cow before venturing back home.
Hans Wolfisberg, Jan’s father and owner of Edelweiss Dairy, was first contacted by producers of the show. They were in need of a cow, and the Wolfisbergs were in supply.
“I wasn’t sure if it was just a joke,” Hans Wolfisberg said about the initial call.
After moving to Alaska, Sabrina would stay with the Brown family for a month while video footage was shot, before being adopted by an Alaskan local to live out the remainder of her life.
“She’s going to be the quote, unquote family’s source of protein for milk and butter,” Jan Wolfisberg said. “They’re going to be self-sufficient; the cow’s going to be the family pet.”
Foreseeable challenges both Hans and Jan Wolfisberg mentioned will be protecting the cow from predators, like bears, and finding suitable feed.
When it came to choosing a cow to sell, there was one obvious choice: Sabrina.
“The reason why this cow would work so well is because she’s older, tame and calm,” Jan Wolfisberg said. “She’s halter trained; other cows on the farm aren’t halter trained.”
It was only a matter of time before she made her big break. Sabrina has competed over eight times in the Northwest Washington Fair and Washington State Fair, winning numerous awards including Grand Champion. She was even featured in an Organic Valley advertisement, Jan Wolfisberg said.
But the cow the Wolfisberg’s chose to be shipped off for stardom wasn’t just any cow, she is Jan Wolfisberg’s first and last cow.
He first acquired Sabrina ten years ago from Mainstream Dairy. Sabrina was only three months old, Jan Wolfisberg 11 years old. The cow became Jan Wolfisberg’s 4-H project and over the years taught him how to work hard, he said.
“Even though they’re animals that make money for you, you still see them as a pet in a way,” Jan Wolfisberg said.
He eventually acquired other cows, but sold them before heading to Washington State University. Sabrina was his last cow left at home.
After being contacted by the show’s producers, Hans Wolfisberg contacted his son to see if he was willing to sell the remaining cow he owned. Jan Wolfisberg agreed.
Had it not been for the move to Alaska, Sabrina would have been butchered within the next few months, Jan Wolfisberg said. Her milk was drying up and it was no longer economical to keep her on the farm. But instead, Sabrina will live out the rest of her days in Alaska.
“She’s going to have fun retiring to Alaska,” Jan Wolfisberg said. “Too bad the show isn’t in Cabo.”