Tim Richter
Tim Richter

MILBANK, S.D. – Nicholas Fonder is the winner of the heifer calf that was given away as part of the Dairy Star’s Great Christmas Grand Prize Giveaway drawing.
Nicholas’ parents, John and Sandra Fonder, milk 40 Holsteins on their organic dairy operation located at Milbank. Nicholas has two sisters, Veronica, 15, and Elizabeth, 5. John and Sandra became foster parents several years ago and currently have two foster children at home.

Sandra works in the human resources department at Valley Queen Cheese Factory. A native of Columbia, she serves as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking employees.   
 The Fonders registered for the Great Christmas Grand Prize Giveaway drawing at Valley Dairy Supply in Corona.
“Wow, that’s awesome,” Nicholas said upon being informed his name had been drawn and he had won the heifer calf.
The heifer calf, Forest Lawn Select 3777, came from Forest Lawn Holsteins at Nicollet, Minnesota. Forest Lawn Holsteins, which is owned by the Swenson family, is the oldest continuously registered Holstein herd in the United States. Select was born Sept. 6.
Nicholas, 16, is a sophomore at Milbank High School. He is an honor student and a member of the Milbank FFA Chapter. Nicholas would like to be a farmer when he finishes his education.
“I already own one cow and have a heifer that’s due to calve in about a month,” Nicolas said. “This new heifer calf will fit right into our herd.”
In addition to doing chores, Nicholas helps with many of the field operations on his family’s farm. He windrows hay, drives the silage chopper and assists with planting.
Nicholas and Veronica are both accomplished violinists. In February, they were selected to be part of the South Dakota Music Education Association All-State Orchestra. The brother-and-sister duo has also been asked to provide music for social gatherings such as weddings.
 “I think that Nicholas was completely surprised when he was told that he won the heifer drawing,” John said. “It looks like Select has some really solid bloodlines. She definitely has the genetics to be a good cow and a good milker. Learning that Nicholas had won the heifer calf was a nice surprise for our whole family.” 
“This is going to be a Christmas that I’ll remember for a long time,” Nicholas said. “I can’t believe it. This is amazing.”

Richter is lucky cash winner
Tim Richter has not considered himself to have much luck, having participated in a few community raffles with little return. That notion changed when Richter was named one of the cash winners of Dairy Star’s Grand Prize Christmas Giveaway Dec. 14.
“I always register for this giveaway, but I never win anything,” Richter said. “Did I really win? I better go buy a Powerball or something.”
Richter milks 80 cows with his wife, Sharon, and two daughters, Sara and Stacy, in Wadena County near Verndale, Minnesota.
He will receive $1,000.
The dairyman’s name was chosen after registering at Modern Farm Equipment Inc. in Sauk Centre. Richter was on his way out of the dealership when he was motivated to register for the giveaway.
“They told me to a grab a calendar, and then I saw the Dairy Star box,” Richter said. “I was just about to the door. If they didn’t stop me, I might’ve just walked out.”
When Richter was notified of his winnings, he was unsure how he would use the extra cash.
“Should I buy a few more Christmas presents or keep it for myself?” Richter said. “Maybe I’ll give (my family) all a little bonus. They all work pretty hard.”
Regardless of how the money will be used, Richter was appreciative of the prize and grateful for the staff at the dealership who encouraged him to grab a calendar.
“I’m glad they told me,” he said. “It worked out pretty good.”