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Freckles with her little cream-colored bull calf. He told me there was a surprise in the barn. I knew Freckles had had her fi rst calf. I quickly ran up to my grandma’s house to make a tag for Freckles’ new baby, and then ran as fast as I could to see him before I had to go to school. Freckles’ baby got a matching green K8 ear tag. That summer we had a Charolais bull get in with our cows. When calving time rolled around the next spring we were shocked to fi nd our only speckle-faced Herford cow with a cream-colored bull calf by her side! They made for an odd couple who stood out in the crowd of Black Angus cows and calves. That fall it was my turn to return a heifer calf to an excited fi rst grader. Maggie, the cow my grandparents gave me before I got Freckles, had a beautiful black heifer calf. Maggie always had bull calves every year except this year. So I returned Maggie’s fi rst heifer calf to the Olson Livestock Foundation Calf Exchange. I was just as excited to take a calf for another kid as I was when I got one! I really wanted to win the best heifer calf; I was proud of my little heifer I had brought. There were ten really nice calves. Another classmate won the best heifer prize. It felt good to see how happy the boy was who drew my heifer calf out of the hat. Freckles is now eight years old and is still the only speckle-faced Hereford in the herd. However, she is not the only Olson Livestock Foundation calf to call our ranch home. I have four little sisters, and three of them have also received calves from the Olson Livestock Calf Exchange. This last fall my sister Claire, who is a fourth grader, returned an awesome heifer calf out of her cow Jessie (named after the cowgirl on Toy Story). Claire won the top heifer prize; we were all really proud. The fall of 2016 will mark the 69th annual Olson Livestock Foundation Calf Exchange. So if you do the math, and fi gure every year ten calves are exchanged, that equals 690 calves. That is a lot of calves and kids who have been given an opportunity to own cattle. I can’t imagine not having my friend Freckles. She has produced many great calves. My sisters and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the Olson Livestock Calf Exchange. It has helped each of us learn about the cattle business. TATANIA VERHULST Claude Olson and his wife Inez started the Olson Livestock Foundation in 1947. In 1953, Claude received the George Washington Honor Medal, a national award that recognizes citizens who serve their communities in an outstanding way. The Olson’s vision has created an ongoing program for kids to not only receive a heifer calf, but to also feel the joy of giving one back three years later. TATANIA VERHULST SUMMER 2016 I WORKING RANCH JUNIOR I 13


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