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BY KARLI VERHULST, SOUTH DAKOTA, AGE 14 ¿Xe_fnj_\ZXd\ ifdk_\8nXi$n`ee`e^ FcjfeC`m\jkfZb=fleXk`fe :Xc<oZ_Xe^\ Karli Verhulst and Ace Giannonatti on the day of the Calf Exchange back in 2008. My Friend ight years ago, as a fi rst grader, I got a letter in the mail from the Olson Livestock Foundation. The letter said that I had been picked, along with nine other fi rst graders, to receive a heifer calf from the Foundation. I knew this was a special opportunity; my grandma talked about the calf she got as a kid from the Olson Livestock Calf Exchange. Claude and Inez Olson started the Olson Livestock Foundation in 1947 by giving ten kids a heifer calf. The couple did this for three years in a row. Claude set the program up so that members of the Foundation would return a heifer calf to another child three years after they receive their calves. The return of a calf by previous recipients ensures that the program is self-perpetuating. In late October, my parents loaded us up and we drove into town for the calf exchange. I remember being very excited to go. The potluck banquet was to be held at the Rec Center in Buffalo, South Dakota. My mom made a casserole and we had a great lunch at the Rec Center. After we ate, they put the names of the kids donating a calf in a hat. Each one of us fi rst graders walked to the front of the room to draw the name of the child whose calf we would be taking home. I drew a boy named Ace, and I would be getting his calf. I was so ecstatic to be getting a calf! When everyone had drawn a name, we loaded up in our pickup and went to the rodeo grounds where the calves had been judged. A plaque was given to the child who brought the “best” heifer calf. I couldn’t wait to see my calf! She was a Hereford cross. We didn’t have any Hereford cattle at home, so she was really cool. We loaded her in the horse trailer and Karli and her youngest sister Raegan feeding Freckles a piece of cake. took her home. I was excited to show her to my grandparents who live on the ranch with us. My grandpa helped me name her. He thought I should name her Freckles. At fi rst I didn’t like that name, but in the end that was what I named her, because of the red freckles on her nose. Freckles spent her fi rst year here on the ranch with our yearling replacement heifers. We discovered right away that she had a special personality. Freckles liked to be scratched on her head, and never turned down a piece of cow cake. We were fast friends. Dad came in to wake me up for school one March morning. TESSA VERHULST AGE 11 E 12 I WORKING RANCH JUNIOR I SUMMER 2016


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