Long-running cattle show attracts youthful crowd

Average bull sale price close to $4,000 | Bull show’s addition of steer and heifer events bolsters attendance

LLOYDMINSTER — Despite nearing its centennial year, the Lloyd-minster Pride of the Prairies Bull Show and Sale is attracting a younger crowd than ever.

The addition of the Progress Steer and Heifer Show to this year’s 93rd event March 4-5 drew youth from across the Prairies.

Brad Payne, chair of the steer and heifer show organizing committee, said the turnout was larger than organizers expected.

“Initially, we thought we would get maybe 20 to 25 females and 20 to 25 steers, but we ended up with 38 heifers and 34 steers,” he said.

“We totally exceeded our expectations, which is great.”

Payne said adding a steer and heifer show to the annual bull sale was first suggested six or seven years ago.

Organizers finally decided the time was right.

“We had support right from Calgary to Regina and everywhere in between,” he said.

This year’s show was open to exhibitors of all ages, but organizers may make it a junior show next year because of the strong youth involvement in the event.

The steer and heifer show kicked off the Pride of the Prairies March 4, with the bull show following it in the afternoon and the bull sale March 5.

Mike Sidoryk, general manager of the Lloydminster Agricultural Exhibition, said the sale was a success: the number of bulls sold increased to 146 from 130 last year and gross sales increased to $569,900 from $463,900.

The average bull price was $3,903, up from $3,568 in 2011. This year’s high selling bull was a Simmental that sold for $9,600.

“You could feel the energy in the room, it was just a tremendous atmosphere this year,” said Sidoryk.

“There is such an optimism in the beef industry and the fact that producers are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. They are very pleased with the strength of the cattle industry at this point.”

He said the success of the steer and heifer show was welcome because it gave future cattle producers another chance to become involved.

Polled Hereford producer Wayne Sampson, who has been showing and selling bulls at the Pride of the Prairies since 1974, got his start in the industry as a brush boy.

This year, he and his wife, Lucie, helped greet Alberta premier Alison Redford when she visited the exhibition grounds during preparations for the bull sale March 3.

“It’s great to have the premier of Alberta come to Lloydminster, Sask., at the Lloydminster Exhibition grounds to be involved in what is going on,” said Wayne, who helped show Redford how to check and weigh cattle before they are sold.

The Sampsons had five bulls at the sale this year and sell the rest off the farm. He said both marketing methods have merit.

“Some people prefer to buy at a bull sale because number one, they feel more comfortable establishing a price, and two, they like to see a whole group of breeders bring cattle in so they can make their selection from there.”

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