Pat Ruzic, pictured with his family, (from left) Victor, Carol and RaeAnn, was drawn as the winner of the $1,000 cash prize in Dairy Star’s Great Christmas Giveaway. The Ruzics milk 40 cows near Hixton, Wisconsin.
PHOTO SUBMITTED
Pat Ruzic, pictured with his family, (from left) Victor, Carol and RaeAnn, was drawn as the winner of the $1,000 cash prize in Dairy Star’s Great Christmas Giveaway. The Ruzics milk 40 cows near Hixton, Wisconsin. PHOTO SUBMITTED

    NEOSHO, Wis. – When 10-year-old Paige Conley started getting ready for school Dec. 18, she did not expect the day to be any different than normal. However, instead of hopping on the school bus, her parents rerouted her onto a detour, telling her they were taking a road trip that would have a surprise ending.



    Paige’s name was drawn Dec. 16 as the winner of a heifer calf in the Dairy Star’s Great Christmas Giveaway after registering at Central Ag Supply Inc., in Juneau, Wisconsin. It resulted in a Christmas gift she will not likely forget for a long time.
    Paige is the daughter of Chris and Brenda Conley of Neosho, Wisconsin, and along with her sister Mckayla, 13, the family milks 52 head of Holsteins and Normandies.
    Paige’s parents said she was excited to learn of her once-in-a-lifetime gift, being drawn as the lucky winner of Crisdhome Solo Angel-ET, a registered Holstein calf born in September, bred by the Kruschke family of New Richmond, Wisconsin.
    “It is pretty cool. I was so excited when I found out. It was a really long ride to go get her,” Paige said. “Once I saw her, I loved her. She is so friendly – the friendliest one of the group.”
    Paige owns one Normandie calf in her family’s herd and Angel will be her first Holstein calf.
    When the Kruschkes were approached by the Dairy Star about providing the Christmas calf, they were happy to help out.
    “The registered Holstein cow has been a mainstay for us,” Jake Kruschke said. “We are really happy to have the chance to help make Christmas this year one Paige will never forget, and help her get a nice foundation cow family started, with a fancy, great pedigreed calf.”
     Angel is a Walnutlawn Soloman daughter with the potential to be a sixth generation Excellent cow someday.  
    “This is so exciting. She goes back to two of my favorite show cows,” said Paige’s mom Brenda, of Angel’s lineage that includes Milksource Goldwn Africa-ET EX-95 2E and Tri-Day Ashlyn-ET EX-96 2E GMD DOM.
    Paige is looking forward to showing Angel next summer at the Dodge County Fair. This year would have been her first year showing as a 4-H member, but she did not have the opportunity because her county fair was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Showing Angel as her first 4-H project will make the gift that much more special.
    In addition to the county fair, the Conleys are making plans for Paige to show Angel at the Wisconsin Holstein Association’s District 8 show to be held in Beaver Dam next summer.
    “She will be babied, just like the rest,” Paige’s dad Chris said of Angel. “We are so happy she won the calf.”
    Ironically, this year marks the second time Angel has been a bit of a Christmas gift, as she is the result of an embryo transfer flush done on Christmas Eve last December.
    The grown-ups were not to be left out in the cold when it came to being the beneficiaries of good tidings of great joy. Dairy farmer Pat Ruzic was drawn to be the winner of the $1,000 cash prize in the Christmas giveaway.
    “I’ll be darned,” said Pat with a laugh and a smile. “I guess it pays to sign up.”
    The news was definitely a bright spot in Ruzic’s day, as he was plagued with vacuum pump issues when he received notification. Ruzic and his wife, Carol, and their children Victor, 17, and RaeAnn, 11, milk 40 head of registered Milking Shorthorns near Hixton, Wisconsin. They farm 350 acres, 200 of which are tillable.
    “This will definitely come in handy with the repair bills that are piling up today,” Carol said.
    Pat registered for the drawing at W.H. Lien Inc., in Hixton, Wisconsin.