Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton was packed for the much anticipated Farm Fair International Nov. 7 – 11.
All breeds and classes of animals were showcased throughout the event, often awarded for reserve or grand champion.
Participants from East Central Alberta were from Bashaw, Edgerton, Hand Hills, Stettler, Carbon, Killam, Forestburg, Irma, Hardisty and more were in attendance to present the best livestock they owned in an effort to win big.
For one family, this was the greatest achievement the ranch has ever seen.
The Wilsons of Bashaw won Supreme Champion Bull at the livestock event for their two-year-old Black Angus bull.
The key to success came from a mix of both genetics and hard work.
“Genetics are absolutely paramount but my parents put in so much legwork to get out and find the best genetics,” said Ty Wilson, son of Lee and Dawn Wilson. “They got to be cattle that work for us that we like and they also have to be something that is a little bit against the grain on what everybody else is doing.”
“They really go the extra mile and leaving no stone unturned to make sure they have the best genetics so that and once you’ve got them that’s one thing but then you have to get them from A to B.
“Just a single cell embryo in some cases to grown and fed properly and maintained properly and get them in peak conditioning for the show and get them down the road and even if all that goes perfectly, you still got to get a judge that prefers your type of cow,” Wilson explained.
The family was extremely excited to work with this bull since Day 1. He had already proven his value at other shows. As a cow-calf pair, his mother and the bull won Agribition the year before.
From there, the bull went onto the Canadian Bull Congress. The show has a deal where if the owner and show cattle were to win three out of four components of the show, they win $10,000, which the show calls the ‘Triple Crown’.
In its 30th year, the Triple Crown was won by a family the Wilsons knew well from attending similar shows in the past.
“Everyone was blown back saying that was amazing, the odds are insurmountable, that will never happen again – well the very next year with this guy as a calf, he won the Rancher’s Choice for bull calves and he won as a part of the Pen of 3 and then they won the third component and they did it again,” said Wilson.
In total, the Triple Crown was won three years in a row, twice with the same bull in the mix.
The level of competition displayed at Farm Fair International along with any national or international showing event is high.
Winning can even come down to the right judges and how they are feeling that day.
“We were really excited about him because that is just so rare and to bring him to here, I don’t know, everything just kind of lined up,” said Wilson.
“We had a great panel of judges and the level of competition in that show is unbelievable and rightfully so.”
Partner, Glen Gable
The Wilsons work with their partner Glen Gable who owns the decorated bull. The longtime cowboy from Saskatchewan saw the unique and striking quality of the animal along with other interested buyers but beat them to the punch to pay top dollar before the bull even won Agribition the first time.
Through their partnership, the Wilsons are able to keep the bull at their ranch near Bashaw although it is owned by Gable.
About six months ago while walking his daughter-in-law down the aisle in Mexico, Gable was apparently bitten by a bug carrying disease which left him extremely ill.
He was moved back to Canadian soil where he recovered but was paralyzed from the neck down.
Since then, he has rebounded as he continues to learn to walk again.
“I know this turnout and him being our partner is one of those things that makes you believe there is something going on to the universe I guess,” said Wilson. “It’s a pretty cool story surrounding the bull.”
Most times when the family is raising these animals and finds a future prospect, the calf is sold and never to be heard of again as they fulfill their natural job to breed.
That was not the case when it came to Glen Gable.
“He was so invested right from the get-go but to his own detriment because that was all time that that bull could have gone to his place and been working but he said ‘No, I want to see what he can do here.’
“He invested in him twice because of the fact that he bought him but then invested in him that he left him out here and was very supportive of what we needed to do. It’s been unbelievable so far.”
Wilson’s parents, Lee and Dawn Wilson, have put in 30 years to raising and showing cattle. They are already looking down the road at opportunities for next year.
“As long as Farm Fair keeps putting on a show, we are going to go there. It is absolutely a phenomenal event.”