If they had only won that they would have been ''absolutely stoked'', but they went on to win the junior show with Fairview Wind Jasmine ET.
The New Zealand Dairy Event, which was in its fifth year and held at Feilding, attracted 330 entries from as far south as Wyndham, with 153 young stock entered.
The two-and-a-half-day event included Jersey cattle owned by Queen Elizabeth, in conjunction with long-time Otorohanga breeder Don Ferguson, and other breeds included Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein Friesian and Milking Shorthorn.
Mr and Mrs Kelly have only missed one of the events, although they had only previously been spectators.
The couple, with their two children Jason and Jessica, own the Kailey Holstein Friesian stud in North Otago. They established their stud in 2000.
Along with their pedigree herd, they also have a high breeding worth (BW) herd at Ardgowan, near Oamaru.
They bought Jasmine at the Canterbury Collection Sale, as pick of the flush from Philippa Trounce, from Timaru, with Mr Kelly describing her as ''pretty outstanding''.
Jasmine went with the Trounce family to the Canterbury A and P Show in November and was third in the breed class and second in the all breeds.
That was followed by a trip to the South Island championship show, held in conjunction with the Wyndham A and P show, and she won her calf classes, both in breed and all breeds.
Jasmine was a late entry in the New Zealand Dairy Event and was dispatched north in a horse transporter.
Mrs Kelly described watching the judging as ''nerve-racking'' as it was on such a big scale and it was the first time they had entered. Ms Trounce exhibited Jasmine and ''did a great job''.
They were thrilled to win the calf class and did not expect any more than that. Then she went forward for the junior championships, which was the first and second place-getters in the four classes - junior and senior yearling and junior and senior calf.
There were some nice heifers in the line-up and usually it was a heifer that won the award, rather than a calf, Mrs Kelly said.
Welsh judge Iwan Morgan moved down the line and, when he got to Jasmine, he ''just raved about her''.
Even though they did not breed Jasmine, to do so well was ''mind-blowing'', she said.
Mr and Mrs Kelly might take Jasmine north again next year to defend her title and there was the possibility of flushing her for embryos and then getting her in-calf.
Always looking to improve their herd, they have imported embryos both from Canada and the United States and were waiting for the latest batch, from a cow called Windy Knoll View Pledge in the US, to calve this year.
The couple hoped to one day go to Madison, Wisconsin, and attend the world dairy expo, one of the biggest shows in the world.
Meanwhile, the show season continued and they had entered cows, yearlings and calves for the North Otago A and P Association's 150th show next week.
Mr Kelly, who is a senior Holstein-Friesian judge, is judging at the Southland A and P show in Invercargill on March 2 and the Oxford A and P Show on March 30.