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History: Calgary’s 1950 bull sale

Reprinted from the April 1950 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Calgary’s 1950 Bull Sale
By Lorne Stout, Calgary, Alta.

Calgary’s Golden Anniversary Spring Bull Show and Sale more than lived up to its golden expectations, for an all-time record 1,162 Sires were sold in four busy days by the five auctioneers and while average prices were lower, the total value of $653,101.63 was within a few hundred dollars of the all-time peak year of 1949. The 50th annual sale realized $628,115 for the Bulls, an average of $540.54, and an additional $25,000 for the sale of 85 Baby Beef and Fat Stock entries.

There were tremendous crowds for all five days of the largest Bull sale in the world where all animals are sold individually, taxing the facilities as greatly from the spectators’ point of view as the large entry did the barn facilities. But cattlemen were assured by Manager J. Chas. Yule that conditions would be better in two ways next year, with the livestock barn roof to be repaired and the possibility that the old Arena could be used for the Sale.

This year’s Bull Sale saw a new all-time record price for Shorthorns, when Wm. Melnyk’s Champion from Chipman sold to Skoedopole Bros. of Botha, Alta., at $3,000. The E P Ranch bid strongly for the Champion and bought another first prize bull from Melnyk at $1,450.

There were two highs among the Here­fords, when both Wright and Bond’s Reserve Champion and another from J.M Campbell and Son, Stavely, hit the $5,000 mark, the Reserve from the Irricana breeders going to J.H. Bohannon, Garfield, and the Campbell bull to R.H. Hougham, a California buyer for use on his ranch in Sask­atchewan.

Selling close to the same level was W.A. Crawford-Frost’s Grand Champion Here­ford, for it brought $4,500 from Lee Bros., Arcola, Sask. Next highest sale was from McIntyre Ranches, Lethbridge, to Alex Mitchell, Lloydminister at $3,400. R.G. Spooner, Calgary, had one on top at $3,100 to C.W. Galloway, Altario.

Average for the Herefords, however, was down $98 at $594 compared to 1949. The Shorthorns dropped from $529 to $442.76, but with 219 sold compared to 172 the previous year were the only breed to increase their dollar volume. There were 772 Here­fords sold.

Aberdeen-Angus also increased sales from 145 to 171, but their average sagged from $510 to $424.30 this year. And for the second year, Roy Ballhorn of Wetaskiwin, edged out for the Championship ribbon, topped the sale when his Reserve Champion sold at $2,500 to Harold Guloien, White Fox, Sask. The Champion, from Old Hermitage Farms, Edmonton, brought $1,300 from K.P. Penosky, Botha. Tom Leader, Red Deer, had the second high of the Angus at $1,500 with W. Cross, Vermilion, the buyer.

In all breeds, good herd sires and good commercial ranch bulls appeared to hold prices consistent with the past couple of years, but failure of the Associations to cull rigidly has been blamed in part for the sharp drop in the Bull Sale averages. There were too many cheap Bulls for 142 sold between $200 and $300, little more than stockyard prices. Of these 36 were Shorthorns, 68 were Aberdeen-Angus and 38 were Hereford. Few of these cheap bulls were among the more than 170 Bulls bought by Americans attending the sale, although they did pick up a few bargains.

Judges for the 50th Annual Bull Sale were Dan Thorton, Gunnison, Colo., for the Here­fords; Josh Biglands, Laramie, Wyo., for the Shorthorns; Alex Edwards, Waterford, Ont., for the Aberdeen-Angus; and Wm. Florence, Moscow, Idaho, for the Fat Stock. All did a good job, with possibly the closest competition in the Baby Beef and Fat Stock class in which George Campbell Edgar, Innisfail, and Danny Hays, Turner Siding, won the junior championships; Ed Noad, Claresholm and Sam Henderson, Lacombe the Open Championships. The Edgar Steer topped the sale on Monday evening at $1.35 per pound, paid by T. Eaton Western Ltd.; Henderson’s “Red” Angus Steer sold at $1.15 to W.L. McGillivray, Coaldale, and Ed Noad paid $2.05 for a promising Hereford steer from Hunter Bros., Macleod. Highlights of the Fat Stock sale were a spontaneous fundraising of more than $2,000 to buy a Michael Boyce Memorial iron lung for Olds Hospital. The young stockman, who had been a frequent exhibitor at Calgary’s Spring Sale died of poliomyelitis last Fall. W.A. Crawford-Frost of Nanton donated a steer to be sold for the fund and it brought more than $600 at 50 cents a pound from W. Herron, Calgary. At the same time 55 attending the sale volunteered donations of $25, assuring adequate funds to buy the iron lung equipment, and all in less than ten minutes. It could happen nowhere but in southern Alberta.

However, if the cattlemen were fast when it came to answering a humanitarian appeal, they were completely the opposite in deciding issues at their annual meetings. Two groups met on the Monday might. The Avondale Shorthorn Club of southern Alberta decided to co-operate with the Central Alberta Club this summer in a field day at Lacombe. They elected Dick Mouser of Claresholm as President.

At the same time, the Alberta Aberdeen-Angus Association were deciding on a northern tour for the Summer to include the Old Hermitage Farm at Edmonton, and raising funds by donations to bolster Fair and Show prizes. They elected Tom Leader, Red Deer, President.

More than 200 attended the Alberta Here­ford Association meeting held at the Palliser, and approved by unanimous vote that Hereford contributions to the Calgary sale allow a deduction of one Dollar for each animal sold to go toward bolstering provincial funds for promotion and advertising. The Directors were authorized to plan another Hereford tour for this Summer, with the region from Macleod through Pincher Creek and back to Lethbridge suggested for the annual event. A.I. Price of Crossfield was elected President.

Top meeting of the busy week was that of the Alberta Cattle Breeders, the joint organization which operates and manages the Bull Sale. Secretary J.C. Yule reported a successful year’s operations, and said the outlook continues good, with the sale being continually enlarged. Roy Bond of Irricana, was elected President; E.J.C. Boake, Acme and R.V. McCullough, Red Deer, the Vice-Presidents, representing the Hereford, Shorthorn and Aberdeen-Angus breeds.

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