Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

2010 is almost come and gone.  Another decade finished.  If someone would have told us a year ago that we would be writing a blog in 2010 we probably would not have believed them.  Sometimes the year goes so fast or we are looking forward to events in the next year that we sometimes forget the things that were memorable in the current year.  So let have a look back at 2010.
  • First calves of IPU Revolution 172U arrive......we are very pleased.
  • Old man winter makes sure we remember what winter can be like
  • Rob gets a new calving shed

  • Simmental bull sales are going strong
  • Tickets to Australia are booked
  • We say good bye to good friend "Auger"  His family honors us by giving us his show stick.

  • We get to listen to Crystal speak at Lethbridge College on Agriculture Advocacy and Social Media in Agriculture
  • Rob's dad has a massive is in shock

  • April Showers and more rain.  Thank you Mother Nature.
  • Bulls are all out working
  • April showers bring Grass and lots of it. 
  • Lots of 4H shows to judge
  • We say good bye to Rob's dad - "Howard Young"

  • Champion Bull and Res. Champion Female at Drayton Valley Show, great night for a BBQ and tunes by Ty Wilson
  • Cows and calves are out to pasture, no grasshoppers this year.
  • Excellent Alberta Simmental Tour through Central Alberta
  • Fun times showing steers at Calgary Stampede.  Res. Champion Charolais

  • Honored by the AYCS (Jr. Simmental Association) as the Friends of YCS
  • Great visit with Buddy and Francis Leachman while watching Lance judge at Synergy
  • Great long weekend at the Saunders reunion on Vancouver Island
  • a few games of golf
  • Starting fall work so we can be away for a few weeks
  • World Simmental Congress in Melbourne Australia

  • Sale cattle selected for National sale, Agribiton and Checkers
  • Spending some time with Crystal down under
  • Res. Senior Bull at Olds Fall Fair.....thanks Stacy for taking care of things

  • Wine tasting in Australia along with snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and Kangaroo hunting
  • Great visits with friends at National Trust Sale
  • National Champion Bull at Brandon - IPU Revolution 172U
  • Grand Champion Bull at Farmfair - IPU Revolution 172U

  • Won a Featherlite Stock Trailer for being a contender in Super Saturday at Farmfair - Thanks Warren from Allan Dale Trailers, Red Deer. Ab
  • Res Sr Bull - Agribition along with a class winner - RJY Joy's Firstdate 1W.
  • Meeting "the Boy"  Crystals friend Jon.
  • Being a part of the $8400+ average Checkers Sale
  • Adding "Elegant Force" to the herd and having her arrive all the way from Kentucky.
  • Spending time with friends and family at Christmas

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Difference Between Commercial Cattle and Purebreds

A long time cattleman Rodney James once defined the difference between Purebred and Commercial cattle as "the amount of $$ you could get for an animal over market price."  Now I certainly agree with Rodney but I do think there is more to this that just the bottom line.

We have been extremely busy the last 3 months.  From attending the World Simmental Congress, to traveling to 3 major livestock shows in three provinces and now preparing for our final Simmental event of the year the Checkers sale on December 18, 2010. 

Our co-workers often ask why do we go to all the trouble?  Why not just have a few cows, calve them on grass, sell some calves and be done with all of this nonsense of shows, sales, registrations, following pedigrees etc.  Our answers to them is that we enjoy all of those events, the anticipation each year of the new calf crop from the sire you selected the year before, the ability to showcase your program and breed at shows and sales, belonging to a fraternity of like minded cattle people.  But probably the one aspect that keeps us going are the PEOPLE.  We have so many amazing people in the purebred cattle industry, and specifically our Simmental Breed.

There are 4 families that we would like to mention here today.  They are all from different countries and we have known them for different lengths of time.
The first is John & Danita Brogan. 

We have known John for over 25 years.  He is from Orange, NSW...well kinda, he has fallen in love with Canada and relocated for an undetermined time to Cochrane, AB  John assited us with selling some embryos downunder.  Through John and Danita we have met Peter and Charmaine Cook. 

We had the opportunity to spend a few days with Peter and Charmaine on our recent trip to Australia.  They are so much fun.  Peter is one of Australia's great cattleman.  If you are ever in the Coohla area it is defiantly worth your time to call in for a visit.  Charmaine might even share a glass of "Farmers Daughter" with you.  Highly recommend it.

The next group of people we have only know for about a month.  The Schneider's from Kentucky. 

We purchased a heifer from them at the Simmental Select Sale in Louisville, KY.  Although we have never met in person, we already feel like we have a connection with them  and it is the purebred cattle that has done that.  Here are a couple of  videos about their son Cramer, a truly amazing young man that has a passion for cattle. Great people to have in the Simmental Breed.  I hope that we can visit each others farms one day.

The third group of people are Dean, Monica, Kara and Kelsey Schwartz from 3D Simmentals.

I am not sure how long we have known them, but I sure am glad that we do.  They raise some great cattle, and are a lot of fun.  They also go above and beyond to extend hospitality to us each year when we come out to Agribition.  They offer their home to us to stay for the 8 days that we are in the Regina area.  It means so much to us for them to alter their schedules and mess up their house.  The best part are the late night chats and getting to spend time with their girls.

So when the weather turns really cold this winter and things are breaking or not going right and none of this seems worth while, we just take a few minutes to think of these people and so many more that have come into our lives thanks to the purebred cattle.  They make a big difference.
"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships." - Abraham Lincoln,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back to the land of Oz - South Tahara

Our next destination was Colraine, Victoria.  We were meeting up with Wayne from Alva Downs.  Wayne is the manager for Cam Emerson.  A what a character.  Certainly tells thing like they are, although he did tame down the colorful language with us girls present.  We had a great afternoon with him and wish it could have been longer.

They have run two herds for many years. One is a purebred Simmental herd and the other is a purebred Hereford herd.  They have not kept up the papers on them but they do keep them purebred.  They also have a crossbred herd.

 The F1 Simmental x Hereford is one that is hard  to beat.  The countryside is beautiful at their property - South Tahara.  With all of the rain that they have had in 2010, the hills are green and the pastures lush.  A nice change after the 10 year drought.

The Emerson family is the family that I stayed with on my first visit to Australia.  David and Liz and their daughters, lived near Hamilton at Branxholme.  David managed the herds along with a purebred herd of Simmentals.  David is a recipient of the Golden Book Award through the World Simmental Fleckvieh Federation

David purchased a Ute (Utility vehicle), the year after I was there.  It has seen better days, but is still running after 26 years.

Alva Downs has topped the market at Casterdown for many years with their feeder calves.  Wayne gave us a great tour.  He had some really good looking lambs that were also ready for market.  We left with a package of lamb chops.  Now just had to find a bar-bie to cook them on!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Going Once , Twice, SOLD

The fall is an exciting time for the shows, but the really interesting part is all of the sale.  Starting in September the coffee table is full of sale catalogs.  Usually our conversations revolve around what we are offering for sale, what other breeders have available and the prices and buyers from the latest sale.

With modern day technology you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home in order to add top end genetics to your herd.  Just a click of the mouse and she could become apart of your herd. There are several good sites, including LiveAuctions.TV, and  Although there is nothing nicer than to hear the chant of the Coronal and to feel the excitement in the air.

RJY Signature Move 4X
Our next sale will be Thursday November 25, 2010 at Canadian Western Agribition.  RJY Signature Move 4X is a compilation of the Signature cow family that we have been building over the years.  her maternal sister was the high selling lot at the 2006 CWA Simmental Sale.  Add in the exciting sire of Wheatland 680S and you have a very exciting prospect.

JDN Prairie Signature 19L

CDY Signature Black 2N
CDY Black Signature 9S - Dam of Signature Move 4X


High Selling Lot CWA Sale 2006 - $15,000

You can check out the entire sale offering at Signature Move is Lot 469.  The sale is also being broadcasted by Live Auctions
Hope to see you at sale time.  If anything catches your eye and you can't attend, give us a call at 780-514-0758.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homecoming......Bovine Style

The third week of November, ask anybody in the livestock business and if they are not going to be home, then you will probably find them at Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, Saskatchewan.  2010 marks the 40th Anniversary of this prestigious Agriculture Event.

The Mission Statement they have created is
To create and maintain an effective, hospitable and entertaining atmosphere to market Canadian agriculture products and expertise to the world.

And for the past 40 years they have accomplished this and more.  Prior to the 1970 cattle producers from Western Canada make the trek, usually by train to the Toronto Royal.  This was very costly and time consuming.  You were one from home for up to 3 weeks.  The dreamer and visionary of CWA was Chris Sutter.  Long story short Chris made it happen.  The first Agribition took place in November of 1971.

As as younger person, I dreamed of attending Agribition.  Each November my parents and Aunts and Uncles would head off to this great cattle show.  The stories they told on their return of the hospitality, the cattle show and the prices that cattle sold for only made me want to go more.

We have many memories of the past Agribitions that we have attended.  This year marks the 34th for Rob and 30th for me.  Here are some of the show highlights.
  • Being a part of the Alberta 1982 4H Judging Team  - being named Reserve High Point Individual
  • Showing multiple champions for Lewis Farms in the  mid 1980's
  • Showing the heaviest bull in Agribition history - TCCL Firefox 53T - 3020 lbs.
TCCL Firefox 53T
  •  Owning the 1989 Champion Simmental Female
  • Rob judging there in the 1990's
  • Selling the High selling lot in the  2006Simmental Sale - $15,000
Now in addition to the show end of the event, there are the many friends that we get to see each year and the social part of Agribition.  Some events can't be mentioned on here, but I thought I'd reflect on a few that may bring memories back for some of you that have attended and the things that make Agribition unique.
  • The SWAMP - the most famous exhibitor lounge.  Bull have been rode through her, Jimmy Joe's rendition of Cinderella in Pig Latin, and the many stories that have been shared.
  • Tie Outs and Peppermint Schnapps
  • The Weather
  • Bum Darts - This event has been discontinued due to Dawn Miller Wilson winning too many years in a row.  Although I am proud to say that our daughter Stacy is the reigning Farmfair Champion.
    The creators of Yuccaflux
  • Yuccaflux Parties - created by the Simmental Exhibitors 
  • The Agribition Crud

You never get enough sleep
Things have changed a lot in the past 40 years.  We sure don't go to the barn at 3 am each morning.  There use to be a breed banquet and dance to attend each night.  We used to tie out at 7 pm, get showered and changed in to our best clothes and dance until 2:00 and then go to the barns.  We have cut our show stings down to 7 from 30.  And they have a few new barns. I also hope that our cattle have gotten better.

Agribition has now become our family reunion for Rob and I and our daughters Crystal and Stacy.  With the American Thanksgiving falling during the week of the show, for the past 7 years Crystal has met us in Regina.

CDY 9S - High Selling Lot 2006 sale - $15,000
I think what the best thing is about Agribition is that everyone there is excited to be in Agriculture and for us the livestock sector.  Having an Agribition Champion is like no other.  It has been 21 years since we were part of the Supreme Championship and this year we are honored to be a part of it again.  A place where anything can happen.  We'll let you know how it goes.
Thank you to the men and women that had the vision and didn't let challenges keep them from seeing their dream to reality.  One of these men was Mr. Bill Small. 
 Bill was the first Vice-President of CWA.  He was also a member of the Simmental fraternity.  Bill passed away yesterday and won't get to participate in this 40th Anniversary celebration.  We sure will be thinking of him though.  Thanks Bill for all that you did and for the great memories.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Comes Early to High Country

A few weeks ago, Rob came into the house and announced that he knew what he wanted for Christmas.  Now this may not sound unusual, but Rob never asks for Christmas or birthday gifts, so I was quite intrigued to hear what had caught his attention.  It was in a catalog ........ not the Sears catalog, or any of the others that arrive in the mail during November, but the North American Select Simmental Sale catalog. 

It was Lot 3 that had his attention.  He almost said like a little boy "I won't ask for anything else for Christmas, if I can just have her."

Well sale day rolled around and the family discussion began, do we try to own her or not.  I thought she would be way out of our budget, but said to give it a whirl.  So we called up Crystal, who was in Louisville with her job at the American Angus Association and asked her to go have a look.  Along with a phone call to Darryl Snider from Simmental Country.  We logged on to edjecast to watch the sale and hoped for the best.

Christmas has come early as we are now the proud owners of CAJS Elegant Force.  She was consigned by the Happy 6 Simmentals, the Schneider family of Georgetown, Kentucky.  This is what they had to say about their sale consignment.
This is one we hate to part with. She is a beautiful package. You can’t make one much smoother than this. She is big-butted, strong topped, jet-fronted, and stout. You have to admire her fore rib and smooth shoulder. “Elle” comes from a legendary cow family, being a maternal sister to last year’s $33,000 high seller KenCo Miley Cottontail, she is a granddaughter of the great H25(dam of JM Steel My Heart and many others). Throw Steel Force in the mix and you can’t go wrong! Elle has gathered many ribbons and banners in her extensive show career, turning heads all across the country. Homo black with a perfect blaze and a baby doll disposition. To top it all off, she’s expecting a heifer calf by Explorer in January. We are reserving a flush within the next 2 years, with a minimum of 6 embryos, to be done at the buyers convenience and at our expense.
Crystal had the opportunity to visit with Joe, Paige, Cramer and Ally Jo.   They are a very nice family and were very excited to have their heifer come to Canada.  They are already planning a trip north to visit her. Cramer and Ally Jo love to show cattle.  To read more about them go to

So I have one Christmas gift bought.  Now to figure out what to get the rest of the family.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Winning Weekend.

This past week we loaded up the trailer again and headed into Farmfair International in Edmonton, AB.  The trip was a lot shorter than last week.  Because of the long haul to Brandon the previous week, we only took in one entry - IPU Revolution 172U.  Edmonton is our local fall show and we still wanted to support it. The numbers were down this year, but the excitement and interest from commercial cattleman was really good.  It seems like all many breeders in all breeds went home with numerous names to add to their bull sale mailing list.  We had a great show with Revolution being named Grand Champion Simmental Bull.
Our Simmental show may have been smaller in numbers but the quality was very high.  We had four strong representatives in the Supreme Saturday Showcase.  Supreme Saturday sees all of the breed champions along with the breed representatives from Legends of the Fall  - calender year bull and heifer calves, and the commercial cattle pen representatives compete for $130,000 in cash and prizes.  It is an honor just to be a part of this day, as it is the best of the best cattle in Western Canada of all breeds.
High Country Cattle, Rancier Farms, and Mader Ranches represented the breed.
The sponsorship for the show is second to none, with 2 Dodge trucks and an Allen Dale Trailer up for grabs.  The panel of 6 judges had there work cut out for them. 

When the score cards were completed, the Grand Champion Female was claimed by the Simmental entry of Rancier Farms with RF Flirtin For Certain 37U, congratulations Garth, Ang, Kyle and Chase.  The Bulls division went to the Bullick family with their Charolais entry.  Although we didn't get to take the truck home, we were honored to finish second, only 2 points out of the running. 

For all of the entries in Supreme Saturday, Allan Dale Trailers donates a new aluminum stock trailer.  Which we were very fortunate to win.  Thank you to Warren Fertig, for your continuous support over the last 22 years.
It has been a great couple of weeks.  Now it's time to regroup, reload, add a few more head and take off for Canadian Western Agribtion in Regina.  Revolution will lead the show string, but we are really excited to have 2 of his daughters at his side, RJY Firstdate 1W, an interesting Blk Joker bull calf, and a daughter of 680S and RJY 9S in the sale on November 25.  Check out the sale catalog at Bouchard Livestock or on our sale page.