Sunday, February 28, 2010

There was only one Auger

We learned a few days ago that our good friend Auger - Bryce Poland passed away.  It's funny that at one time you could go to almost any show in North America and say the name Auger and people knew who you are talking about.  Bryce lived on the show road. 

 He lived for show cattle.  If they couldn't win him a Champion ribbon he didn't have that much use for them.  Bryce probably showed more Grand Champions in the Simmental breed than anyone else that I know.  He traveled all across Canada and the U.S, Brazil and Mexico.  He showed for some of the big Simmental outfits.  Shawest Farms, Ritland Simmentals and Poland and McCoy.  I met Bryce in 1978 at the World Simmental Congress.  We got to know his family well and went of a few holidays together.  Of course they were always connected to at cattle show.  He was one of a kind and although a little rough around the edges he had a huge heart.  I will always remember the way he wore his grey stetson a little crooked to one side. We will miss him at the shows, but always him for the competitor that he was.  Funeral services for Bryce will be held at the United Church in Sherwood Park on Wednesday March 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm.  I found this poem the other day that was written by fellow fitter/showman Levi Jackson.  It kinda describes what Auger loved to do.

Photo by Crystal Young
The Fitter

Sometimes I think that we’re crazy

Cause we’re up every morning near five

We work all day and drink all night

And wonder how we survive

In the mornings we’re in the washracks

Freazing off our behinds

Someone brings in some peppermint schnapps

And things start to look just fine.

The life on the show road’s been a mighty

Good life for me

I’ve traveled all across this land

And been from sea to sea

Met me a lot of folks

And better friends I’ll never know

This life on the show road

I’ll be doing when I’m old

The city folk they don’t understand

Why we’re brushing the hair

Why we trim and shin their hooves up

And stick them out in the cold night air

They ask us lots of real dumb questions

Saying “What are you doing this for?”

I tell them “hey, we’re a little bit crazy”

And they don’t ask us anything more

We pack up the tack and move today to be at

Another show tonight

We feed and water cattle, we might sit down

And get tight

In the show ring we fight like cat and dog

It’s a hell of a rivalry

But when the work’s done and we’re having

some fun

We’re just one big family.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Great Man

"What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed
social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
That is to have succeeded."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jack Lewis
25 years ago, Rob and I packed up the few things we had along with Crystal - 10 months old and headed north to Spruce Grove, Alberta.  Rob had just taken a position with Lewis Farms.  2 months after our arrival they were hosting their first bull sale on the farm.  Now 25 years later on February 27, 2010 they will hold their 25th Bull Sale.  During the 7 years that we were at LFE, we participated in 2 sales a year both a bull and female sale on the farm.  We had the opportunity to exhibit their cattle across Canada, numerous times bringing back Champion banners and Preimer Breeder and Exhibitor.  Their sales were some of the highest averaging of any breed.  Their genetics were sold across North America and around the world. But the best part of our time there was that we got to know Jack Lewis. I remember prior to the first sale, Jack Lewis commenting that he didn't know if Rob would be able to handle these big Simmental bulls.  Following the sale he complemented Rob on a job well done.  This is the kind of man that Jack Lewis is.  I don't know if I have ever met someone that can start up a converstaion with anyone.  He is full of knowledge and very interesting to visit with.  We want to Congratulate Jack Lewis and all of his family - Ken, Corrie, Kyle, Kirbie, Sandy, Jordan, Jamie, Tyler, Roy, Carol, Colton, Callie and the late Laverne Lewis on their committment to Agriculture.  We are so glad that you are a part of the Simmental Family.  Here's to the next 25 years.  If you ever get the opportunity to visit with Jack - don't pass it up.  He is truly a remarkable man.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Real Hired Hands at High Country Cattle

Dogs have always been a part of our lives.  When Rob and I were dating he gave me a Border Collie pup named Jessie.  She was really good at one thing....chasing birds.  Needless to say she wasn't a part of the farm for long.  Several years later Rob purchased another working dog.  Jade became his right hand hired hand.  There wasn't a cow that she couldn't stop, she had a huge heart and loved to go to work with him.  His competative side took him to the trail field and he spent several years competing in arena and field trials.  Our working dogs have taught us how to work stock better.  Our cows are very dog broke.  Often Rob and the dogs will go and do a job that should take more man power.     
    Kurt - sire of the pups

Our old dog - Kurt is getting on in years and we wanted to raise a pup out of him.  Bud is 14-month-old and has a lot of natural instinct. 

Bud's dam - Cass - has recently had another litter of pups.  They are ready to go the end of February.  Pups from the last litter found new homes in the Northwest Territories, the Maritimes and across Alberta.  If you are interested in a new hired hand drop us a line at show12win@yahoo or There are 6 males and 2 females. These hired hands never complain about the weather, the long days or the pay.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winning at any cost

Our family has and will continue to show or display cattle at shows as it is the one and only way to be able to really assess your own cattle as they change with genetic improvements and management. There is no better way than to have them stand beside one another in the wash rack, walk down an ally or walk out into the show ring.

My fear is that even though everyone has an ideal animal in mind, the way some shows are going we may loose them all in time. It would be a shame to loose this great opportunity. I realize that certain cattle work under different environments, however, our cattle are raised to feed the world red meat and I wonder if we loose sight of the goal sometimes.

I found an article that has some very powerful statements in it and I find myself believing a lot of his observations. The only thing he missed is that if all kinds of cattle are not on display at shows, the choice of some judges may not even be there to use or even worse observers may think that those are the only cattle that are available from the breed.

Here is the article; I hope it makes everyone think one moment before selecting a judge or pushing an agenda.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Revolution Has Begun

The hardest thing about purchasing a new herdsire is waiting to see the first set of calves and wondering if you have made the right decision.  We purchased IPU Revolution 172U at the 2009 Labatte Simmentals Bull Sale, together with Beechinor Bros. Simmentals. 
Revolution was purchased site unsceen, but he did not disappoint when he arrived.  Now a year later his first calves have arrived and they certainly have lived up to our expectations.  Beechinors used him first so their calves are a bit older.  Here are a few at High Country Cattle.

 Bull Calf - Revolution x JJJS 6P (Cool Venture's Dam)

Heifer calf - Revolution x RJY 5T - Red Label  daughter - 
pictured at 4 days old

Heifer calf - Revolution x WFL 669K 

Its exciting to have them on the ground. We can hardly wait to see how they develop.  Stay tuned for more details