“Congratulations! When are you coming to Arizona?”
That was the message on Jim Pforter’s cellphone when he awoke at 3 a.m. on April 7th to discover that Duke University’s NCAA championship victory had made him the Grand Prize winner in the first-ever Bovamine Brackets Challenge sponsored by Nutrition Physiology Company (NPC).
Pforter, a cow and calf producer in DeRuyter, New York, knew he had a good chance of taking home the big prize, which made him too nervous to watch the game in real time. Instead, Pforter silenced his cell phone and went to bed, confident that his children and grandchildren would be glued to their television sets and that their inevitable voicemails would reveal his fate. The video message from his daughter and granddaughter confirmed the news.
Grand Prize in the Bovamine Brackets Challenge was a choice of either a one-year truck lease or a travel voucher, each worth $7,500. Because Pforter’s daughter and family live far away in Arizona, the entire family rarely spends time together. So Pforter had already decided that, should he win, he and his wife Gail would choose the travel voucher prize and bring along their other three children plus their families for a long-awaited family reunion in Arizona.
The NCAA Championship game was a nail-biter, not just for Duke, but also for Pforter and runner up Nick Ehlers, a dairy farmer in Theresa, Wisconsin. Ehlers' bracket actually tied for the win, but he lost the tiebreaker (all Bovamine Brackets contestants were required to guess the total points scored in the final game – Ehlers was off by eight points, Pforter by only five).
On the bright side, Ehlers ended up being a double winner in the Brackets Challenge, not only taking home the Runner Up prize of $4,000 in cash but also winning one of the $500 weekly prizes for correctly picking the Elite Eight back in March.
What will Ehlers do with his winnings? “I just got married in October, and we bought an old farmhouse that we’ve started remodeling. I’ll put the money toward that,” says Ehlers. “In fact, I think my wife Angela is even more excited about that than I am,” he laughed.
Both winners said they heard about the Bovamine Brackets Challenge from one of their dairy trade publications and decided to enter on a whim.
Pforter had played sports and his kids had all played sports, so when he saw the contest, he said he thought, “What the heck, how many farmers are going to fill out a bracket? I might have a chance to win.” Pforter recalls, “First time I checked the standings, I was in 17th place. I thought that was pretty good out of over 500 participants. Next time I looked I was in 2nd place. That’s when I started paying attention to every game. At one point I dropped to 11th place, but in the end, there were just four of us in the running, and one of them could tie me if Duke won.”
Ehlers says he doesn’t follow basketball that closely until March comes around, but then he tries to watch all of the games. “I love March Madness. Every year I fill out a bracket with my Mom and my nephew, or with friends, just for fun.” says Ehlers. This year, Ehlers spotted the Bovamine Brackets Challenge and thought, why not? The rest is history.
The Bovamine Brackets Challenge is sponsored by Nutrition Physiology Company (NPC), maker of Bovamine, Bovamine Defend and Bovamine Dairy, the most widely used and most thoroughly researched probiotics in the industry. NPC also makes PoultriMax, a probiotic formula targeted to the poultry industry.