The history of Beiseker Red Angus started over 50 years ago and within that time the families of Schmaltz and Brigan have made a substantial impact on the Canadian Red Angus community.
In 1971 Peter and Maxine Schmaltz decided on purchasing more cows.
They already had Black Angus but wanted to start a purebred herd.
They had lots of help from their children Kim, Karen and Mark Brigan, being all still at home, so they decided to try something different by buying Red Angus although at that time there were very few Red Angus breeders in Canada.
In the beginning, they used artificial insemination (A.I.) and transplanting embryos on their better cows mostly.
In 1980, they started to slow down on the A.I.ing and went in search of a breeding bull to use for natural breeding.
Their search led them to Premier Breeders in New York where they bought into a syndicate on a bull called PREMIER PATRIOT 16.
This bull has laid the foundation of the Schmaltz herd.
Beiseker Red Angus bought the bull’s walking rights and a percentage of semen sales.
It was later sold to Don and Vickie Conway.
The semen from this ‘female maker’ bull is still used today at Beiseker Red Angus & Red Rock Red Angus to flush cows to produce embryos.
They are currently using a son of his on the cows and many of the current breeding females will have his breeding somewhere in their pedigree.
“His female’s udders were perfect, the feet are great. Temperament is wonderful and they have lots of milk and a lot of the cows have done well also but we found Premier Patriot has laid down the foundation for what a female should be,” said Karen.
At the same time as securing Premier Patriot 16, the family started to show their cattle.
The main bull show at that time for Red Angus was the Red Round Up in central Alberta.
They won Grand Champion twice there with RED BRA DOUBLE EXPOSURE 51R in 1983 and with RED BRA FIRE CRACKER 33X in 1988.
In 1985, they also took home Reserve Champion with RED BRA RED WHEEL 33T.
Their most thrilling show was in 1983 when a bull calf called RED BRA FIRST CLASS 13R went on to win Grand Champion at the Denver Stock Show in Denver, Colorado; coming out of the show on top with an undefeated three-year-old.
In 1988, Beiseker Red Angus & Red Rock Red Angus were nominated by their peers, winning Breeder of the Year.
Over the years they have sold bulls, females and embryos all over to the world including Denmark, South Africa, Argentina, Australia and the U.S.A.
In the beginning, bulls were sold with the Red Angus Breeders of Canada as the number of breeders was limited at that time and even fewer produced Red Angus bulls.
Several breeders together sold their bulls at a one-day sale and then as the numbers grew two bull sales evolved.
As the breed grew so did their herd numbers large enough to have a sale of their own combined with Dee Lee Red Angus (daughter, Karen), Lumont Red Angus and RRH Red Angus.
They decided where to have their first sale in 1990.
They wanted an area that was known for having large numbers of cattle combined with no other Red Angus bull sales at that time.
Cereal Auction Mart in Cereal, Alta. was decided to be central.
The same year, the first Prairie Grass Red Angus Bull Sale was held.
All of the kids had left home while Pete and Maxine decided to slow down a little so in 1994 they decided to take a back seat and join forces with Red Rock Red Angus (daughter, Karen and son-in-law as well as John Brigan and Jim and Laurie Brigan).
In 1997 Prairie Grass Red Angus Bull Sale, which was composed of both Red Rock Red Angus and Beiseker Red Angus, moved to Schetzle Livestock in Veteran, Alta.
The bull sale was held there until 2010 when the difficult decision was made to move closer to home near Airdrie.
“Online sales were beginning to take hold so moving closer to home meant the bulls would not have to be trucked but would still be available for our loyal customers in the east to be able to bid and view online,” said Karen Brigan.
They asked Mark Shologan of DLMS to help them move from a live sale to a virtual sale as the facility was not equipped for a live ring sale.
The family producers noticed the stress on the bulls during sale day was immensely reduced and the weights remained stable so they knew they had made the right decision.
In 2018 another decision to go to a private treaty sale was made.
This transition could not have come at a better time as with the COVID-19 pandemic taking place, the cattle producers were well equipped to handle this newer form of purchasing.
John felt getting the right bulls for the buyer’s herds was his priority and with not having the opportunity to do that with limited time on sale day, the best alternative was to sell by private treaty.
This meant the buyers can come when it is convenient for them and they would not be limited to a couple of hours on one day of the year.
John could then go through the pen of bulls with the buyers and if the buyer at that time would like to see the dams that could also be done.
The other plus to this switch was the cost savings of producing the sale could then be passed on to the buyers.
“Private Treaty has worked well, ensuring the buyers get the right bull for their herds at the right price,” added Karen.
They currently have 70 bulls on test at Elite Custom Feeders in Crossfield, Alta.
In 2009 Beiseker Red Angus was inducted into the Alberta Angus Association Hall of Fame as “Breed Builder”.
Karen shared that the best part of the Red Angus cattle business is the people who make it happen.
“We do miss our sales out east. When we had our sale out east we met a lot of people. A lot of farmers and at that time there weren’t a lot of people out there but they were down-to-earth cattlemen you know?
They knew what they wanted and we just brought the bulls. You couldn’t find nicer people to work with,” she said.
“Pete and Maxine feel in the 50 years of raising Red Angus they have enjoyed the cattle but most of all the friends they have made,” she added.
Red Rock and Beiseker Red Angus are always happy to have visitors at the farm.