REGINA — Many families come close to grabbing the brass ring at the Canadian Western Agribition supreme championship, but only a few have taken home the big prize.
This year’s top bull award went to Poplar Meadows Angus for a two-year-old bull and the outstanding female came from Rod, April, Colby and Megan McLeod of Cochrane, Alta.
This year, 33 champion females and 37 champion bulls competed for the supreme honours.
“This is the most prestigious thing we can do. If this was a baseball game it would be the World Series. If it was football it would be the Grey Cup. This is what we strive for,” said judge Craig Flewelling of Bowden, Alta., who has also won this award.
He was one of five judges who independently assess each animal. They name the top 10 from each category before selecting the best of the best at the grand finale show held Nov. 28.
The McLeod family is long-time Charolais breeders who have made the top 10 many times with bulls and females from their program, but the big prize always eluded them.
Their cow is a home raised female named PZC TR Disirae 012 and was also grand champion at this year’s Olds Fall Classic. This same female qualified for the Supreme last year as an Agribition grand champion and now retires on a high note. They also had a Charolais bull at this year’s supreme competition.
“This the highlight. We had an unbelievable week,” said Rod.
They raised the sire of this female, and it has also made a mark in the Charolais breed.
“He was our high selling bull five years ago, and this is the very first daughter of his,” he said.
Megan was at the halter of the cow, and although she has been in this same place many times, she admits she was nervous as she watched judge Anne Burgess scan the cattle lineup.
“I was very nervous. I was shaking the entire time as she was walking up and down the line. When we got the slap, I was blown away,” she said.
Megan is a business student at the University of Saskatchewan and has to prepare for exams while her parents return to the ranch for more Charolais events.
“We have been lucky enough to have winners in the steer shows. Both of our kids have had champions and I have always said we have the banners and the memories and they got the money. I think ours lasted longer than theirs did,” said April.
Tanya, Monty and Taylor Belsham of Houston, B.C., own Poplar Meadows Angus and had been campaigning their champion bull at the summer and fall shows.
May-Way Breakout 1310 was grand champion at the Interior Provincial Exhibition at Armstrong, B.C., and Farmfair International at Edmonton. The 22-hour trip from northern British Columbia to Regina was worth it.
“It is the pinnacle of showing in Canada to win at Agribition,” said Tanya, who has been in the Angus business her entire life.
Her parents were recognized for 50 years in the Angus business last year, and her father died last spring. She wishes he could have seen the big announcement.
“I felt this calm come over me just before. I almost felt like my dad was there watching me,” she said.
She was out of cattle for about 10 years and in the last four to five years became fully involved.
The bull was purchased in Kansas earlier this year. When it won at Farmfair, she formed a new partnership with Hamilton Farms of Cochrane, Alta., Six Mile Red Angus of Fir Mountain and Breed Creek, Mankota, Sask. This bull’s future is being discussed among the group of owners, but the next step is to send the bull to stud to draw semen.
She must also return to the ranch, where they have an extensive operation. This year she bred 440 Black Angus cows and more than 100 commercial cows.