DENVER, Colo. — A freckle faced bull owned jointly by Americans and Canadians was named national Polled Hereford bull champion at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.
Ned and Jen Ward of Sheridan, Wyoming, along with partners Donald, Elwyn and Pauline Embury of Newburg, Ont., had their personal best showing with a two-year-old named NJW 73S M326 Trust 100W ET.
The Emburys bought an interest in the bull when it was a calf at the Denver show.
For the Ward family, it is part of a friendly relationship they have shared with Canadians since they started their operation 28 years ago.
“The Canadians have been friends to us and we have bought a lot of Canadian bulls and brought them down,” Ned Ward said after the Jan. 12 show.
Buyers from British Columbia bought the two high selling bulls from their ranch sale last year.
Wyoming was hit with a drought eight years ago that lasted five years. The Wards were not well prepared and had to import hay from Canada through connections they had made in the purebred business. The dollar was around 75 cents so it was economical.
Moisture levels were good last year and they have already had enough fall rain and snow to set them up for another decent year.
The Denver stock show is the only event the family attends, and this was their first major win.
They run more than 400 purebred and commercial cows and don’t have enough help to enter more shows.
“This couldn’t come to us at a better time because we are having our bull sale April 11,” he said.
“The purebred business has been very good to us.”
Their winning bull retires after this show and will go back to the breeding pasture.
Ned and Jen were raised on Hereford operations and carried on the tradition after they married. While their commercial herd includes some Red Angus cattle, they were never interested in switching to a new breed.
“Jen said we better do one thing right before we try to do many things. Our love is Hereford cows,” he said.
The winning bull was the result of an embryo transplant and the Wards didn’t start getting it ready for the show until late in the fall after the breeding season.
They also own four full sisters to this bull that they feel are producing equally good calves. They have four generations of the bull’s family on their ranch.
“His mom is a super producer and his sisters are doing a great job,” Ward said.
“With his history, his daughters and sons will do well, too.”
While winning a major award like this is good promotion, Ward is not sure they will see an increased demand at their bull sale this year, even though commercial prices hit record levels in 2011.
“It’s a hard life and there is a lot of other ways to make more money,” he said.
Canadians were also showing cattle with respectable results.
Harvie Ranching of Olds, Alta., won the champion yearling bull banner at the polled section of the show.