NEILLSVILLE, Wis. — They say lightning does not strike twice, but one Clark County family recently learned that it can. The lucky thunderbolt came twice in the form of a calf raffle win for 13-year-old Brady Gerhardt, whose name was drawn as the winner of a registered Holstein calf Dec. 31, 2023, at the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Convention in Fond du Lac.
“I thought they were joking when they told us my name had been drawn,” Brady said. “I have never won anything before except a dollar on a scratch-off lottery ticket I got for Christmas.”
The weather was less than ideal on the final morning of the annual gathering of young Holstein enthusiasts, according to Brady’s mother, Amy. After a weekend of camaraderie and dairy bowl competition, they headed for home before the final hours of the convention wrapped up, which included the drawing for the organization’s annual calf raffle.
While the family was stopped at a gas station, Amy’s phone rang. Fellow Clark County Holstein breeder Teri Raatz called to share the good news.
“We did all think she was pulling our leg,” Amy said. “We were all laughing and saying, ‘Good one, Teri,’ but she kept insisting she wasn’t joking. I’m never speechless, but this time I was.”
The reason the Gerhardts thought their friend was playing a trick was because Amy’s name was drawn as the winner of the calf at the 2020 convention.
Indeed, Raatz was the bearer of good news.
Brady was the winner of Kampy Luster Got Lucky-P, donated by the Kamphuis family of Kampy Holsteins near Brandon.
Got Lucky is a polled Cherry-Lilly Zip Luster-P-ET daughter born in September. Her dam is sired by Duckett Crush Tatoo-ET and was classified GP-83 as a 2-year-old. Her second dam is an EX-91 Val-Bisson Doorman-ET daughter. She is backed by eight more generations of Very Good and Excellent cows including the all-time All-American junior 2-year-old and junior 3-year-old, Stookey Elm Park Blackrose-ET EX96-3E-GMD-DOM.
The teasing did not end with Raatz’s phone call.
“I got home and told Dad I had met a girl at convention and we needed to go pick her up,” Brady said.
Marty said his son’s admission confused him, and he was also in disbelief when Brady told him he had won the calf.
Going to pick the calf up turned into a more challenging prospect than the Gerhardts had expected.
“Our first plan to get her was on Jan. 13, but we got all that snow on Friday,” Marty said. “It was a good thing we decided not to go that day. The Kamphuises said their road did not get plowed until late Saturday afternoon.”
The cold weather that followed the snowstorm thwarted the Gerhardts’ plans to pick up their newest Holstein again. Finally, Brady stayed home from school Jan. 22 and made the trip to Brandon with Marty to meet his calf.
The Gerhardts — Marty, Amy and their children Dawson, Emily and Brady — have been lifelong supporters of the dairy industry and are happy to have the opportunity to raise their children in the same manner.
The family supports the annual junior fundraiser put on by the Wisconsin Holstein Association, buying a book of six tickets for each member of their family.
“That’s turned out pretty good for us,” Marty said. “We’ve gotten two really good-pedigreed registered Holstein calves for $50 apiece.”
The calf Amy won in 2020, KWH Ltomax Ascrow-ET, had an equally impressive pedigree. She is a granddaughter of Kamps Hollow Altitude EX-95-2E — the same family as KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET EX96-4E-DOM.
“That calf was almost a year old when we brought her home,” Amy said. “Emily had kind of claimed her to show, but then with COVID that summer, we didn’t have a county fair.”
Ascrow has been shown at the county fair as a milking cow, but the Gerhardts said she does not love the show life. Emily has been able to show her daughter, though.
While Brady said he has more of an affinity for showing pigs at the county fair, he has already told his sister that he will be showing Got Lucky this summer. Got Lucky will be transferred into a family partnership with both their names on the paper as had been done with Ascrow.
“I am looking forward to showing her,” Brady said. “She is so black and pretty.”
The Gerhardts will house Got Lucky at nearby Selz-Pralle Dairy in Humbird.
Besides the Clark County Fair, the Gerhardts plan to show Got Lucky at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair in Chippewa Falls and the Central Wisconsin State Fair in Marshfield. They are considering becoming first-time exhibitors at the WHA District 4 Holstein Show in Wausau.
Amy said she would like Emily and Brady to have the experience of exhibiting at the Wisconsin State Fair as part of Clark County’s delegation of dairy youth at some point.
“I still can’t really believe I won the calf raffle,” Brady said. “She is my first calf that belongs to me, and she has such a good pedigree. It is really exciting, and I am looking forward to her growing up and showing her this summer.”
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