Alberta producers see Denver as chance for promotion

The Daines-O’Neill family attended the National Western Stock Show more to promote their stock than to win ribbons

DENVER, Colo. — Being at the National Western Stock Show was like a working vacation for the owners of Daines Cattle and O’Neill Livestock as the crew and six Charolais bulls basked in the Colorado sunshine.

The Innisfail, Alta., based ranch is a family operation, and members have attended the Denver event before with good results. However, setting up an outdoor pen in the historic stockyards was a new experience.

The white yearling bulls were on display to promote the herd with less concern about what happens in the show ring, said Wyatt Daines.

“We bring what we think works and what works for our customers,” he said.

“Their places in the show don’t have much to do with how they perform.”

Their group of bulls was entered in the Charolais pen show during the stock show, which was held Jan. 12-27.

“You never know down here,” he said.

“Judges are from all over the U.S. and they like different things.”

However, last year ONL AWR Cool Cub 7C, bred and raised by O’Neill Livestock and purchased as a yearling by Aces Wild Ranch of Weatherford, Texas, was national reserve grand champion bull at the Denver show.

The family consortium includes members of the Daines family as well as Kyle O’Neill, who is married to Jocelyn Daines. The show circuit has been good to them in the last couple years.

Kyle and Jocelyn showed the reserve national female at Farmfair in Edmonton last fall. It was a full sister to the bull that placed so well in Denver, said Kyle.

The Daines family is well known in central Alberta for an annual rodeo, cattle marketing and a large herd. They run about 350 purebred Charolais cows and also own Simmental and Angus. At one point they had a large herd of Maine Anjou, but BSE forced them to change plans.

Their main market was the United States and they could no longer export when the border closed, so they started to change the herd, said Wyatt.

Like many of their colleagues in the ranching sector, everyone has an off-farm job so they have to book vacation time to attend shows.

“To be honest, there isn’t enough money in cows. You have to really love it, but you will never get rich,” said Wyatt, who is an operator in the oilfields, while his partner, Kristi, is a grain buyer.

Kyle works for Shur Gain and Jocelyn is an elementary school teacher.

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