Pelican's Restad owns dairy herd, carries 4.0 GPA and stars in hoops
Pelican Rapids, Minn. Beneath the humming electric current, flanked by rows of dirty-legged Holsteins, engulfed in a dismal stench, Casey Restad works. Unfazed. In the midst of wiping udders and changing filters and switching milkers and pushing ...
Pelican Rapids, Minn.
Beneath the humming electric current, flanked by rows of dirty-legged Holsteins, engulfed in a dismal stench, Casey Restad works.
In the midst of wiping udders and changing filters and switching milkers and pushing bovines, he carries on a conversation.
He speaks of his first car and slumping milk prices, a trip to Mexico and his favorite cereal.
He never stops moving.
"It's not what I'd hope for him," mother Debbi Restad said. "But it's in his blood. It's a hard life; you're tied down seven days a week. ... I just want him to be happy with what he's doing."
See, Casey Restad isn't your run-of-the-mill student. That is, unless there are others with a 4.0 GPA, their own dairy business and the best scoring average in the conference.
Restad, a senior guard, hearkens back to the days when all kids scheduled practice and free time around chores. His red 2001 Ford Super Duty truck is the shiny fruit of his unending labor.
He's stressed over the impending birth of a new calf.
He averages 19 points, 6.7 assists and 3.1 assists for Pelican Rapids (11-1), ranked No. 9 in Class 2A.
And with the long days, the sizable checks and the notoriety comes uncertainty.
Smart, funny, well-rounded kids are rare; rarer yet are smart, funny, well-rounded kids who choose to make a living on a farm.
"I'm going into agriculture or accounting," Restad said.
Isn't that an odd contrast?
"Well, my uncle is an accountant in the (Twin) Cities and he's always getting new cars and new boats and new houses. I think I could do that."
Twenty minutes later, the answer changes.
"Sometimes I debate, but I'll probably stick to this," he said. "I don't mind it."
There's enough on his mind already.
Two years ago Restad's dad, Peter, quit the dairy business to become a plumber. Rather than sell all his cattle, he offered Casey the chance to keep, and care for, a few.
Like offering a child their own milk-making pet.
"So I figured, I've been farming so long I might as well try it and see how things go," Restad said.
Since August -- he decided to quit football -- Restad has been waking at 2 a.m. and, thanks to an independent study program, getting out of school at 2 p.m. to tend to nearly 70 Holsteins.
Restad and his herd produce 600 to 1,000 pounds of milk per day.
He is overtly proud of the herd's low mastitis count.
"He's running a business; he's a businessman and he's only 18-years old," Vikings coach Brad Strand said. "That's very admirable. He's a special player."
The key to surviving school, work and basketball? An abundance of early bedtimes, afternoon cereal binges and helping hands.
Friends, neighbors and family members, except for twin sister Sarah, who isn't fond of barns, are ready and willing to offer assistance.
Even if Restad just wants to catch a movie.
"We say we would (help), but he wouldn't ask for it," said Pelican Rapids teammate and longtime friend, Tyler Lage. "Two in the morning doesn't sound like fun to me, but it's working for him. He's always done that."
Basketball, however, has always been a top priority; like farming, it's in the blood. Peter Restad was a standout for the 1977 state runner-up Vikings and grandfather Ted Koland played for the University of North Dakota.
It's no surprise, then, that Restad, a sharp shooter, is blessed with great hops and a textbook wrist snap.
What he didn't inherit was the family height. At just 6-feet and 160 pounds, Restad isn't garnering much attention from colleges.
That's OK with him.
He'll likely attend nearby Fergus Falls Community College and transfer to North Dakota State.
Will he continue to play basketball? Will he pursue a career in agriculture or flee in search of a six-figure income?
Ask him tomorrow.
"Not that being in Pelican is bad, but I'd like to see him be in another place," said Debbi, noting he nearly bought land instead of a truck. "The farm will always be here."
While setting out fresh feed and checking milk flow, Restad is talking about a recent victory, building a new parlor, and LeBron James.
He'll worry about that stuff some other day. Time to change into clean sneakers.
"I don't have any regrets," Restad said. "It'd be nice just to go to practice right after school sometimes, though."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Terry Vandrovec at email@example.com or (701) 241-5548