Valleymere TTT Angus holding consistency and reputation as key for long-term ranching success

Travis and Halley Spady of Valleymere TTT Angus located between Alliance and Castor, Alta. ECA Review/T.Huxley
Written by ECA Review

Travis and Halley Spady of Valleymere TTT Angus located between Alliance and Castor, Alta. ECA Review/T.Huxley

Valleymere TTT Angus is located south of Alliance, Alta. in the hills along the Battle River, owned by Travis and Halley Spady along with their sons Tanner and Ty.

Tanner is married to Amy Nitschke and they ranch south of Stettler.

Ty has started farming just south of Travis and Halley’s and is taking over the farming operation of the ranch.

Both boys are former 4-H’ers, journeyman welders and have herds of registered Black Angus cattle.

As a family, they are the third and fourth generation of Spady’s to proudly carry on the Valleymere herd name that was started by grandfather Jack Spady beginning in 1937.

In 2014, the Spady families were honoured by the Canadian Angus Association for raising registered Black Angus cattle for over 75 years.

Two years later, the Alberta Angus Association inducted Valleymere Angus into the Hall of Fame as Contemporary Breeders.

Valleymere TTT Angus is just one of the Spady Angus herds registering cattle under the Valleymere name.

Their uncle Roger runs a small herd of straight Canadian genetics which he now calls Old Valleymere Angus.

Brian and Tammy and their family-run Valleymere BPPS Angus along with a large herd of commercial cows.

“We all owe our foundation to Grandpa Jack who was the true pioneer of Valleymere Angus,” said Travis.

Jack Spady

In the beginning

Jack Spady started his Black Angus herd of cattle in 1937 and in 1948 began registering them under the Valleymere herd name.

One of the most influential bulls in the Angus breed, Blacklock McHenry 13Y, better known as Great Northern was out of Pride Belle of Valleymere 18M.

In 1971, Georgina of Valleymere 44, purchased by Sayre’s Farm of New York State was named International Grand Champion Female at the Chicago International Exhibition.

Other notable achievements of the Valleymere herd was raising both the Grand Champion Bull, Fairlad of Valleymere 12G and Grand Champion Female, Favourite of Valleymere LDS 11G at the 1976 Canadian Western Agribition.

Favourite of Valleymere LDS 11G was also Grand Champion at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair that same year.

The Valleymere LDS herd was owned by another uncle, Lorne Spady.

He passed away in 2019.

Harold continued with the Valleymere HPS Black Angus herd.

Tradition over the years

In 1973, at 10 years of age Travis was allowed the pick of his father’s heifers, a Spady tradition that has gone on for four generations.

“I chose Blackcap Valleymere HPS 8E, a daughter of the famed Q-Bar, Camilla Eileenmere 17’64. 

She would be my 4-H project and was Reserve Champion Female of our district in 1975 as a 2-year-old with a calf at side.

She was also the dam of Valleymere HPS Ben 31J who sold to Roger Hillstead of Ebon Hill Angus at the Cross Country Sale in Lacombe.

This bull later became known as “Happy Harold” siring many high sellers in the years to follow and eventually being sold to Bon View Farms in South Dakota.

“In a twist of fate, I had actually traded 8E who was pregnant with 31J to Dad for a Hereford heifer. Why would I do that? 

“Well, in the ’70s trying to sell Angus bulls in our area was like trying to sell the plague. On the other hand any Hereford bull with nuts would bring $4,000. 

“Dad had started a Hereford herd and thought one of his boys should develop that side of the operation.

“This was the start of my greatest education in the cattle industry.  I found out exactly how great an Angus cow is by owning some Herefords!” he said.

It was the 80’s and Travis was still running some purebred Angus cows and registering them under the herd name TRAV.

Then in 1982, he bought some land and the entire Hereford herd of about 30 cows from his father.

“I still had my Angus cows and a small commercial herd but in 1986 the decision was made to go “all in” on the Herefords.

Travis ‘found the light at the end of the long dark tunnel though’ and in 1996 married Halley Strandquist.

Two years later in 1998, Travis bought 10 bred Angus heifers from his father and another 10 from his uncle, Roger Spady of Old Valleymere.

In 1999, the couple registered about 10 calves under the present Valleymere TTT Angus herd name.

In 2021, they will calve around 200 head of purebred Black Angus cows.

The only cow line in their herd that doesn’t originate from Valleymere comes from a Sandy Bar Lady heifer they purchased back in 2010.

“Growing up in a time when Black Angus were less than popular taught me only the top end calves made it to the replacement pen. 

The key has been purchasing herd bulls from top dams. The Herefords taught me that a cow must be efficient and low maintenance.

“The three TTT’s of teats, toes and temperament are far more important than any EPD on paper. It’s been that way here for generations,” explained Travis.

“I remember as a boy being in the bullpen with Grandpa Jack and a bull customer who explained to Grandpa that he was looking for “just a bull”. 

Grandpa shook his head and told him that he didn’t have any “just bulls”, he only had good ones and the bull buyer would have to pick from them. 

As I recall, the man left with a good bull and that memory has never left me.”

Calgary Bull Sale 1977 Grand Champion Aberdeen Angus. From the left: John P. (Jack) Spady, Harold Spady, unknown, Doug Henderson and Jack Spady. ECA Review/Submitted

Long time contributor

Valleymere Angus was a long time contributor to the Calgary Bull Sale.

Grandpa Jack first sold bulls there in 1950 and Dad, Uncles Roger, Lorne and Tom all took part in the annual spring trip to downtown Calgary for the sale.

Highlights include the 1971 Reserve Grand Champion consigned by Harold and the 1977 Grand Champion consigned by Travis’ brother Jack.

Travis and Halley started taking the sale string of two-year-old bulls to Calgary in 2001.

Highlights for us included receiving the Rancher’s Choice Award as well as Senior Champion Bull consigned by brother Brian.

An end of an era, in 2008 was the last year Valleymere sold bulls in Calgary.

“There were many ribbons and banners but the contacts and friendships far outweigh the trinkets,” stated Travis.

In 2007, they joined up with Brian Spady of Valleymere BPPS and Uncle Tom and Craig Spady of Rivercrest and began selling their bulls at The Spady Bull Sale.

Last year, they held the 17th Annual Spady Bull Sale at Tom Spady’s sale barn across the river from Grandpa Jack’s original Valleymere Ranch.

“After 17 years of selling bulls jointly we have made the decision to market our bulls privately. Due to the growth of both the Valleymere and Rivercrest herds we felt it was a good time to make this change. 

All Valleymere bulls are for sale privately at the various ranch locations,” he said.

Travis goes up to one of his black angus cows for a quick pet while out in the field. ECA Review/T. Huxley

Work and play

Black Angus cattle are the main source of income at Valleymere TTT.

“We strive to balance the work and the play for a healthy lifestyle.  We enjoy going to rodeos, team roping jackpots, trail riding and hunting. 

Branding season is a favourite time of year and we try to attend as many as possible.

Their bull customers are 95 per cent commercial cattlemen who run a lot of cattle on large ranches who demand cattle that are low maintenance, sound and thrifty.

They want their cattle to work for them and not the other way around.

“A lot of the brandings we go to are our bull customers and it’s a good way of seeing our product at work. 

“It is pretty gratifying when you realize that not only are we third and fourth generation Black Angus breeders, some of our customers have been buying Valleymere bulls for four different generations as well.”

“Purebred Black Angus and the cattle industry have given us everything we have today including the wonderful lifestyle we enjoy.  

“We are so thankful that Grandpa Jack started this path in 1937 and my Dad Harold carried it on. Their reputation of fairness and honesty helped lay the strong foundation that we enjoy today.”

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