Meet Missy, the Wayne Gretzky of cows.
The Ponoka-area bovine is a rare champion on a winning streak. She recently sold for $1.2 million, and is only the second cow in Canada to fetch over $1 million.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Morris Thalen, who with his wife Sandra runs Morsan Farms in Ponoka.
The Thalens decided to put their prize-winning cow, called Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy, up for auction at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto last week in the belief she would fetch from $500,000 to $1 million.
The three-year-old animal exceeded their expectations. She was sold to a three-way partnership between Gert Andreasen, an investor from Denmark, Mark Butz, a U.S. businessman, and the Thalens, who retained part ownership.
Morris hopes the cow’s high value will draw more recognition to his farm, as Missy will be bred to produce embryos and calves that will be sold around the world.
Breeding decisions will be made by all three owners as a group, but Missy will continue to live in her “five-star hotel” digs at Morsan Farms in Ponoka, he added.
Unlike other cattle, who share their space with 100 head, Missy has only one other flat mate.
Morris said the cow bunks down in sawdust with another bovine for companionship — and to maintain her competitive appetite. “Cows kept by themselves will get lazy and lose their drive,” he explained. “Missy gets lots of individual attention and the best of everything.”
The Thalens knew their milk cow was extra special even before putting her up for auction.
The sleek black-and-white bovine, who was bred with a high pedigree and great genetics in Prince Edward Island, “has won every show she’s entered — she’s like a Wayne Gretzky of cows,” said Morris.
Missy won the Grand Champion at the 2009 Western Fall Nationals, was named the All-Canadian and All American 2008 Junior Two-Year-Old, and was also declared the No. 1 Type Cow in Canada last August.
“She was the only one that scored 89 points — which is as high as you can score,” said Morris.
On top of her good looks and impressive blood lines, Missy has a great disposition; “She’s a very nice cow to work with,” said Morris, who believes Missy owes her “beautiful” presence in the ring to her love of going to shows.
So does Missy realize what a special cow she is?
“I’m frequently asked that question,” said a chuckling Morris, “but I don’t think so.”