"Where Passion, hardwork, and dedication are just a way of life for one Agriculture enthusiast that wants to share the industry with you"

Monday, 23 May 2011

"The Calgary Bull Sale"

  1. The Calgary Bull sale has been operating since 1901. That's one hundred and ten years that ranchers from around Alberta and other neighbouring provinces have been bringing their best bulls to sell and show at the  Calgary Bull sale.  It is held every year at the Calgary Stampede Grounds usually in the Agricultural building. 


They decided to hold the first sale of purebred cattle in Calgary because the thriving young town was central to the main ranching areas as well as to the purebred breeders. People would travel on the CPR line (railway was the central way to travel) there was hotel accommodations as well as stabling for bulls. The first Calgary Bull sale was held on May 15, 1901. There were angus bulls and females, Ayrshire bulls and females, Hereford bulls, and Shorthorn bulls and females. The high price of the sale was $290 for a Shorthorn bull. The directors thought this sale was a success and decided to make it an annual event. And so the Calgary Bull Sale began.  Later the Bull Sale was moved to March so the horse, swine, and sheep shows stayed in April. 

By 1905 the Calgary Bull Sale had gained the distinction of being the largest individual purebred cattle consignment sale in the world. In 1906 the Association decided not to sell females at the Spring sale due to the expense of fitting them for sale over the winter. Females were occasionally offered for sale, but the event has been basically a bull sale since 1907. Ninety Percent of the purebred beef sires sold in Alberta are sold through this sale, and the breeders were entering their best stock. The practise encouraged was "saving the best for Calgary". This undoubtedly one reason the Calgary Bull Sale has maintained it's prestige for over 100 years. 

Getting bulls to and from the sale in the early was not as easy as it is today. If a breeder lived close enough he simply drove the bulls with horses or hauled them in on a wagon or sleigh pulled by a team of horses. Most of the bulls were driven from home to the nearest railway siding, or depending on the distance and conditions  sometimes carried to the siding on a wagon or sleigh. Than they were loaded onto the box cars for Calgary. 

During the second decade the Calgary Bull sale had also gained the "Baby Beef Challenge" where anyone under the age of 21 could show a steer or heifer. A perpetual trophy was awarded to the owner of the Grand Champion. Inscribed on this trophy are many names of which are familiar today in the cattle industry. Later the Baby Beef competition was discontinued and since than is now annually presented at the summer steer show. 

The Calgary Bull Sale grew and grew. With animals selling for as high of prices as $280 000 in 1981 a Hereford bull from B&H Herefords. Bulls were selling for high prices and the cattle  market was good. The Calgary bull sale was a prestige place for breeders to make money. 


Me and my family have been selling our Hereford bulls at the Calgary Bull sale for 25 years With two of our highest selling bulls going for $27, 500 and one for $25, 000. We use to take large strings of twelve but now have limited our numbers to six or seven because of the decreasing size of the Bull sale. 
"1994 Junior Champion"

Every year we attend the bull sale with some of our best bulls. They always sell very well and we usually end up going home with a few titles. We enjoy going every year not only for the sale and show but for the social aspect of it as well. We feel it is an important time to truly connect with our buyers. We have never walked away with out a smile on our face for it is always a genuine time.
"1994 Get a sire Champions"

Like I said the Calgary Bull sale has been going down in size. The barn used to be filled with as many bulls as 800 and now have come to the small number of about 250. The average price of a bull now is about $4,000. The Calgary Bull Sale is still a very cherished event for Purebred breeders across the province. With excellent quality bulls coming in every year to be sold and shown. I know my family looks forward to it every year.
" In the past years a calf we sold for $25,000"


  1. Love the old photos! Great tribute to the Calgary Bull Sale, Sarah.