Welcome to the home of Blonde d’Aquitaine breeders in Ontario, and everything you need to know about our Association. Our goal is to provide members and visitors alike with all of the update information you need to know about the ultimate terminal breed in the beef industry. Whether its shows, breeder information, upcoming events, the latest news or becoming a member today, the new and improved website should provide you with everything you need to know!
The sophomore year of the Ontario Blonde Point Shows was another success thanks to a dedicated group of breeders who put in the time and skill to keep our breed in the public eye. The quest for Top Female, Top Male, and Premiere Exhibitor began in August with our first point show at Campbellford Fair. It was evident from the start that there were going to be some great contenders for the top honours. The points were calculated using the same system as last year. Exhibitor’s animals were required to show at a minimum of three point shows (the National in Lindsay was mandatory) and to be considered a point show, at least three breeders and 18 Blondes showing were needed. The Ontario Fairs that qualified as point shows this year were Campbellford, Orono, Warkworth, and Lindsay. Markham Fair welcomed Blondes to show this year and the breeders who took advantage of the opportunity said it was a great facility with excellent people to deal with. Unfortunately, with 17 head showing, it didn’t qualify as a point show. Hopefully attendance is up at this fair in the future. Seven of our breeders and their animals met the requirements and in the end it was a Dunham sweep! Franmar Crystal 11C was unstoppable and easily took Top Female. The race for Top Male was tighter, but Donaleen Chachi 1C came out on top. The 2015 Premiere Exhibitor was Donaleen Blondes. Congratulations to The Dunham Families for putting together outstanding showstrings! Banners and Trophies sponsored by Fee Haven Farms will be presented to the winners at our AGM.
The tradition of meeting for good food, good laughs, and most importantly the annual raffle draw continued on November 8, when 30 breeders from across the province made their way to Chubby’s restaurant in Hoards Station. The anticipation was palpable as we joined forces to battle the staples holding the ticket books together. Thankfully Don Dunham was on hand to alert Paul Fee that he had mistakenly spelled ‘Paul’ wrong on his tickets and graciously offered to add the correct spelling – D-O-N – to them. The lucky winner of ‘Crystal Casandra 19C’ a purebred heifer calf coming from the Ferguson Family of Crystal Farms, was Andrew Aird of Cavan, ON. We wish Andrew all the best with newest addition to his herd. The second prize of $200 went to Kurtis Zetler of Walkerton, ON. Congratulations to them both! A special thank you goes out to all of the dedicated Blonde breeders who sold tickets for our raffle draw this year, as well as Paul, Mary Ellen, Samantha, and Phillip Ferguson for providing a quality heifer that any of us would have been proud to add to our own herds. Your support of the Blonde breed and the Association is very much appreciated!
The Ontario Association was thrilled to host the National Show, Sale, and Annual General Meeting for the second year in a row in September. The weather was picture perfect for the entire three day event – I’d like to say that the board of directors special ordered it that way, but we really can’t take the credit! The events started Friday with a very well attended AGM with members from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan present to take part. There were openings for three directors on the Canadian Board. Reed Rigney (Alberta) was reelected, along with newcomers, Ryland Cleary (Quebec) and Paul Fee (Ontario). They join Dave Kamelchuk, Myrna Flesch, Paul Ferguson, Nicholas Boyd, Ashley McNevan, and Bill Van Bakel. With the business portion out of the way early, it left the remainder of the weekend open for the fun stuff, beginning with the banquet Friday night. It was a great opportunity to catch up with old friends as well as meet some new ones. Our go-to auctioneer, Dave McNevan, lent his talent once again and kept the crowd and entertained and -more importantly- bidding during the mini-auction, which raised $1,255 for the association. In order to ensure that no one overslept and missed out on the sale the following day, everyone called it an early night and went straight to bed following the banquet…or that’s what we’ll say happened!!
The National Sale held in conjunction with the 15th Annual Cream of the Crop Sale at Hoards Station Sale Barn drew another great crowd the following day. Fourteen consignors offered 32 lots of top quality Blonde cattle which brought an average of $3,368.75. Top selling bull was Pleasant Valley Conan 2C, consigned by Sheldon Asselstine of Pleasant Valley Blondes and purchased by Ron Fintelman of Rosepark Blondes for $6400. Top selling female was Crystal Ashley 4A, consigned by Paul and Mary Ellen Ferguson of Crystal Farms and purchased by Harry Bouwmeester of Jae Acres for $8100. Buyers and bidders spanned the country from British Columbia to New Brunswick and all points in between. Attendees were once again able to vote to choose a winner of the People’s Choice Award. For the second year, John Langstaff took home the banner sponsored by Steven J. Acres for his consignment, Langstaff Bonnie 2C, an 817X daughter. The purchasers, Tyler Sutcliffe and Ashley McNevan of Over the Top Cattle Company, also received a banner sponsored by Little Creek Farms. Thanks to Reed Rigney, who was our acting press photographer, for the picture of the winners and sponsors. Click here for a full sale summary.
Sunday the festivities moved to the Lindsay Exhibition for the grand finale of the weekend – the National Show. An excellent selection of Blondes from 15 exhibitors were on hand to compete for title of National Champion. High Rock Farms had an outstanding day taking home three of the four top honours. High Rock Crisp 5U was crowned the National Champion Female and her daughter, High Rock Alotacreme 6A, who is co-owned with One OAK Blondes, took home Reserve. The streak didn’t end with the females as a Crisp son, High Rock Big Bill 4B, was also named National Champion Bull. The Champion Bull Calf, Bogart Captain Crunch 1C, exhibited by Bogart Cattle Company, was chosen as Reserve National Champ. Congratulations to the big winners and all of the exhibitors for providing a great set of cattle for our final event of the weekend. Click here for the full list of results from the National Show.
The Ontario Board of Directors would like to thank everyone who took part in this event. Sellers, bidders, buyers, exhibitors, sponsors, spectators…we appreciate your involvement in whatever capacity. It’s because of your continued support that this weekend was such a success. See you in Alberta for the 2016 Nationals!
A bit of rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the nearly 40 attendees at this year’s OBDA picnic held in Tweed at Bogart Cattle Company on July 25. Eric, Chris, and Joyce Doran were our gracious hosts for the day and welcomed us to their picturesque farm. The impressive looking Blonde cattle in the fresh pasture beside the house were a sure sign that we had arrived at the right place! We began our day by catching up with friends and fellow breeders as they arrived. Eric had put the finishing touches on the Cream of the Crop/National Sale catalogue the night before and had printed off a copy to circulate. With the exception of a few near fist fights, we mastered the art of sharing and everyone got a turn to browse over this year’s offerings. The sample catalogue ended up leaving with Rick Drinkill and Paul Fee…either as a way to blackmail the absent Nicholas Boyd, or to pass the time waiting for a tow truck should Paul’s poor Dodge have succumbed to the brake issues that had plagued it on the trip down. Luckily the truck held together, which was quite a feat considering it had to travel to just this side of the North Pole to get them home!
With the clouds looming and the threat of rain imminent, Eric suggested that we take the opportunity to go check out the cattle, so off to the pasture we went. An excellent group of cattle were waiting for us, sparking the usual ‘who’s the sire of that calf’ and ‘what’s the breeding on that cow’ questions. As an added bonus, the Alberta sale cattle from Little Creek Blondes and Willow Springs Stock Farm had arrived earlier in the week, so we were treated to a sneak peak of their animals as well as the Doran’s own consignment to the sale, Bogart Lady Zophia. It was then off to the barn to view the show string and the newest addition to the herd, WSS Petula 29W along with her Dalemead Judge heifer calf. Upon seeing Petula, Ashley McNevan was heard uttering, ‘I can’t believe he sold that one’ under her breath! The cattle in the barnyard were a clear indication that Bogart Cattle Company was going to be a force to be reckoned with in the show ring this year. The senior yearlings (including the reigning National Champion Heifer Calf, Van Bakel Blondes Bombshell) looked great and the bull calves had everyone rethinking their show rations! Halcyon Wynona and Bogart Captain Crunch, her January bull calf sired by Maple Valley Baxter definitely got the crowd talking.
As if on cue, the rain began just as we left the barnyard and headed undercover for the afternoon feast. A table full of salads, baked beans, Mary Ellen Ferguson’s famous devilled eggs and, of course, the main attraction BEEF was waiting as we returned from the cattle tour. As we dined in our own little tent city, the standard farmer mealtime topics were discussed at the various tables. Halter breaking, the status of first cut hay, calving troubles, dehorning, artificial insemination, the best tricks for applying a nose ring, manure…nothing’s off limits at a table full of farmers! The trays of desserts appeared and there proved to be more than a few sweet teeth in the crowd. Rachel Vink DeWeerd battled with the ooey-gooey-ist butter tart any of us had ever seen. Luckily, Wendy Dunham had found that a napkin soaked in rainwater was an excellent weapon to combat any mess at the table and passed her secret along! To add to the entertainment, Paul Fee was making deals with the Young kids to get into the icy waters of the drink tubs in exchange for shiny loonies. Unfortunately, they only made it in boot-deep, so they didn’t qualify for the funding.
A timely break in the rain provided an excellent opportunity for Dave McNevan to dust off his auctioneer hat and start the mini auction. All worries were put to rest when the famous never-used manure fork made its triumphant return after it had been missing in action for nearly four months. As I heard it, in a true act of heroism, our very own Tyler Sutcliffe single-handedly took on two burly thugs who tried to make off with the fork after Paul Fee had purchased it at the AGM. His quick thinking and brute strength saved the day and allowed our tradition to continue. There must have been an attachment, as Tyler and Ashley were the successful bidders and the famous fork headed home to Over the Top Cattle Company. The bidding also got heated on two vintage signs from the earlier days of the OBDA. When the dust cleared and the money was tallied, there was a grand total of $926.00 for the association.
The thunder was rumbling and the lightening was intensifying, so the party wound down. We said our goodbyes and thank yous and headed home to feed our show calves a little extra grain before bedtime. An excellent time was had by all and we thank the Doran Family for their outstanding hospitality!