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  • BMO & Calgary Stampede honours local farm families

    Together, the Calgary Stampede and BMO Bank of Montreal recognized 19 southern Alberta families on July 10 during the 2017 BMO Farm Family Awards at Stampede Park.

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    Heck Family, Starland County

    On many family farms, succession looms large. Land that's been in the family for generations is sold or rented out because there is no one to take over the reins.

    But for Brian and Kim Heck, the 2017 BMO Farm Family for Starland County, the future in that area is brighter than it was a few years back. Their son Kyle, 21, and daughter Breanna, 19, eachhave an interest in the family traditions of farming and raising cattle.

    "I think we have an up-and-coming farmer on our hands with Kyle. Initially, there wasn't a lot of interest there," Kim says. "But he went to Lethbridge College for the wind turbine course and came home right at seeding. He helped with that, then the harvest. All of a sudden, he's showing a real interest in it."

    And while you might be able to take the girl off the farm - Breanna is studying to be a paramedic at NAIT - you can't take the farm out of the girl: this spring she bought some heifers of her own to calve. The Heck kids were raised on the family's 5,000-acre farm. Forty-one hundred acres are seeded with wheat, canola,barley and peas. Another 200 acres are dedicated to hay, with the remainder pasture for 60 cow-calf pairs. Brian's great -grandfather homesteaded by Sunnynook (93kilometres north of Brooks) in the 1910s. His father lived there until 1969 when the family moved to their present location outside of Delia, 45 km northeast of Drumheller. In 1990, Brian bought his own operation and worked it alongside his father, Leonard, until 2010, when Brian took over the entire operation.

    "Dad has been a very big help. If it wasn't for my father being involved with this, we wouldn't have what we have," he says. And while there's a connection to the good old days of farming, Brian is more than happy to utilize the latest developments in agriculture and technology if they help get the job done.

    "We've farmed the same amount of acres without it and the same amount of acres with it. It is way easier with the technology. It seems to create a lot less stress in my life. The technology has literally eased my mind," Brian says.

    Although advancements now include a driverless tractor, Brian thinks there will always be a place for the family on the family farm, especially in large grain operations.

    "You're going to need someone out there to manage the piece of equipment. Heck, I'm in the tractor and I can get it stuck, no problem."

    The family has been involved with the Delia 4-H Beef Club over the years, with both Brian and Kim, a substitute teacher, serving as leaders. Brian, a longtime member of Delia's volunteer fire department, is its deputychief, and sits on the village's seed plant board. He's also on the Ag Services Board for Starland County. And Kim is on the Kidsport Delia committee, which ensures financial considerations don't keep local children from participating in organized sports.

    "Taking part in things in the community ensures we have a community," Kim says.

    kaiser

    The Kaiser family, Wheatland County

    When you find something great, you want to share it.

    Randy and Wendy Kaiser call the Duck Lake area near the Village of Hussar home and they're dedicated to keeping their community going.

    "This is a wonderful community. We are trying to get the young kids to move back here. We have a brand-new arena and a brand-new hall," Wendy says of Hussar, located about 90kilometres east of Calgary.

    "It's a vibrant community. A lot of the next generation of farmers are coming back. We want to keep it alive, so we've got lots of sports like baseball and curling, and fine arts as well."

    The Kaisers first came to the area in the 1940s when George Kaiser bought the land the family lives on today. His son Herb served in the Army Reserve and joined the RCMP after the war. He returned to the farm in 1948, where he and his wife, Mary, raised their five children. Their son Randy met Wendy in high school, and the couple bought additional land in 1979. That's where they raised their three children - Cole. Lacy and Brady. When Herb passed away in 2003, the couple moved to the original family farm.

    The 2017 BMO Farm Family for Wheatland County now runs a 2,200-acre mixed farm on two parcels, and they rent two pastures for their purebred Charolais herd. This year, they'recalving 160 cows bred to their bulls. The Kaisers currently raise bulls for their own use, but from the 1980s through the late '90s, they also showed and sold them everywhere from the Calgary Stampede to the Regina Agribition.

    "We just loved the people. the showing, the competing," Wendy says.

    One year, they drove from Houston to Jackson, Miss. to show their bull

    Submitted

    The Drumheller Mail

    Together, the Calgary Stampede and BMO Bank of Montreal recognized 19 southern Alberta families on July 10 during the 2017 BMO Farm Family Awards at Stampede Park.

    Heck Family, Starland County

    On many family farms, succession looms large. Land that's been in the family for generations is sold or rented out because there is no one to take over the reins.

    But for Brian and Kim Heck, the 2017 BMO Farm Family for Starland County, the future in that area is brighter than it was a few years back. Their son Kyle, 21, and daughter Breanna, 19, eachhave an interest in the family traditions of farming and raising cattle.

    "I think we have an up-and-coming farmer on our hands with Kyle. Initially, there wasn't a lot of interest there," Kim says. "But he went to Lethbridge College for the wind turbine course and came home right at seeding. He helped with that, then the harvest. All of a sudden, he's showing a real interest in it."

    And while you might be able to take the girl off the farm - Breanna is studying to be a paramedic at NAIT - you can't take the farm out of the girl: this spring she bought some heifers of her own to calve. The Heck kids were raised on the family's 5,000-acre farm. Forty-one hundred acres are seeded with wheat, canola,barley and peas. Another 200 acres are dedicated to hay, with the remainder pasture for 60 cow-calf pairs. Brian's great -grandfather homesteaded by Sunnynook (93kilometres north of Brooks) in the 1910s. His father lived there until 1969 when the family moved to their present location outside of Delia, 45 km northeast of Drumheller. In 1990, Brian bought his own operation and worked it alongside his father, Leonard, until 2010, when Brian took over the entire operation.

    "Dad has been a very big help. If it wasn't for my father being involved with this, we wouldn't have what we have," he says. And while there's a connection to the good old days of farming, Brian is more than happy to utilize the latest developments in agriculture and technology if they help get the job done.

    "We've farmed the same amount of acres without it and the same amount of acres with it. It is way easier with the technology. It seems to create a lot less stress in my life. The technology has literally eased my mind," Brian says.

    Although advancements now include a driverless tractor, Brian thinks there will always be a place for the family on the family farm, especially in large grain operations.

    "You're going to need someone out there to manage the piece of equipment. Heck, I'm in the tractor and I can get it stuck, no problem."

    The family has been involved with the Delia 4-H Beef Club over the years, with both Brian and Kim, a substitute teacher, serving as leaders. Brian, a longtime member of Delia's volunteer fire department, is its deputychief, and sits on the village's seed plant board. He's also on the Ag Services Board for Starland County. And Kim is on the Kidsport Delia committee, which ensures financial considerations don't keep local children from participating in organized sports.

    "Taking part in things in the community ensures we have a community," Kim says.

    The Kaiser family, Wheatland County

    When you find something great, you want to share it.

    Randy and Wendy Kaiser call the Duck Lake area near the Village of Hussar home and they're dedicated to keeping their community going.

    "This is a wonderful community. We are trying to get the young kids to move back here. We have a brand-new arena and a brand-new hall," Wendy says of Hussar, located about 90kilometres east of Calgary.

    "It's a vibrant community. A lot of the next generation of farmers are coming back. We want to keep it alive, so we've got lots of sports like baseball and curling, and fine arts as well."

    The Kaisers first came to the area in the 1940s when George Kaiser bought the land the family lives on today. His son Herb served in the Army Reserve and joined the RCMP after the war. He returned to the farm in 1948, where he and his wife, Mary, raised their five children. Their son Randy met Wendy in high school, and the couple bought additional land in 1979. That's where they raised their three children - Cole. Lacy and Brady. When Herb passed away in 2003, the couple moved to the original family farm.

    The 2017 BMO Farm Family for Wheatland County now runs a 2,200-acre mixed farm on two parcels, and they rent two pastures for their purebred Charolais herd. This year, they'recalving 160 cows bred to their bulls. The Kaisers currently raise bulls for their own use, but from the 1980s through the late '90s, they also showed and sold them everywhere from the Calgary Stampede to the Regina Agribition.

    "We just loved the people. the showing, the competing," Wendy says.

    One year, they drove from Houston to Jackson, Miss. to show their bull Smoky Joe at the U.S. National Charolais Show.

    "It was so much fun to see the different countryside, to see the Brahmas in the fields. The event was a lot of fun. We placed second to that bull that went with us to all the shows."

    Community involvement is a constant for the Kaisers. Randy's chaired many boards, including the Alberta Charolais Association and the Alberta Cattle Breeders. He currently chairs the Hussar Fire Association. He's also a past board member of the Alberta Cattle Commission, VIDO Beef Tech, Waters of Wheatland and the Hussar Ag Society, among others. Wendy has shared her bookkeeping talents as a board memberwith the Hussar Curling Club, Hussar Skating Club, Home and School Association and Hussar Crisis Society, to name a few. She's currently casino coordinator for the Ag Society and Curling Clubs, secretary of the Hussar Hall Board and a director with Rosebud Gas Co-op. They've both coached local sports teams as well.

    Randy and Wendy are past 4-H leaders, and the three younger Kaisers have served as public speaking judges and put on clinics.

    Also, Cole is coaching hockey, serving as President of the Lions Club and volunteering in Hussar. He's bought a house in thevillage, but commutes to Calgary for work. Lacy is co-owner of a barbershop in Calgary and Brady is studying to be an electrician. All three help during crunch time on thefarm, and the hope is that they will continue the family traditions of farming and community service.

    "I always say, 'A bored person is a lazy person, and vice-versa...” Wendy says. ''Around here,it’s always go, go, go."

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    The Dau family, Kneehill County

    As the fourth generation of his family to farm in Kneehill County, Dallas Dau has a deep connection to the land around Three Hills. He knows the true meaning of words like legacy,stewardship and heritage.

    He's also a realist when it comes to ensuring the survival of those terms when it comes to Dau Farms Ltd.

    "The lifestyle aspect is a big part of the family farm, but at the end of the day, it's a business. And we have to make sure it runs like one," Dallassays .. "It's a really important part of the proper stewardship of what we have here."

    Keeping abreast of developments on the agricultural landscape is key for the Daus, recipients of the 2017 BMO Farm Family of the Year for Kneehill County. Dallas credits courses such as the Canadian Total Excellence in Agricultural Management (CTEAM) Program as a way to protect the family legacy. The program teaches business management, from succession planning to key performance indicator measurement and risk mitigation.

    Dallas and his wife, Lisa oversee Dau Farms Ltd. with the help of his parents, Bill and Pat Dau, who managed the operation before them. Children Anna, 12, and Luke, eight, are getting to the age where they can safely help with age appropriate tasks. Pat is chief financial officer ("Like every good farm mom," Dallas points out) and primary combined operator, while Bill is quite involved in the operation, mainly running the equipment.

    The family historyin the area began when George and Bertha Dau moved to Three Hills from Idaho in 1914, accompanied by their sons Don and Ray. Ray married Margaret Meston and then farmed with two of his sons, Bob and Bill, forming Dau Farms Ltd. When Bob died in the mid' 80s, Bill and Pat took over the operation. Dallas and Lisa came aboard in the early 2000s. Dallas was fortunate enough to work alongside his grandfather, who came to the untouched land as a child and lived to see a fifth generation on the farm.

    "The neatest thingwith him was that he went from breaking the land to seeing itfarmed with all the modern machinery. He could never get over how much could be done with the new technology and how it affected production," explains Dallas.

    Today, Dau Farms Ltd. seeds 5,100 acres with canola, barley, wheat,peas and flax, with another 600 acres in custom farming and about 1,700 acresin pasture for the 300-head cow/calf operation. The farm has used minimal tillage since 2003, GPS and auto -steer since 2005, and variable rate fertilizer since 2007. Swath grazing of cattle was implemented in 2004 and they've recently added swath grazing corn. The farm is two miles down the road from the homestead, which is run by Dallas's cousins.

    The Daus are proud to take their place in the community through their involvement with Three Hills/Ghost Pine 4-H Club (Anna has a lamb this year, while Luke gets a backup animal), Three Hills Cruise Nite, the Christmas Food Hamper Program and various community events in the Ghost Pine area of Kneehill County.

    "We are temporary stewards of it all. We need to leave it in better shape for the next generation who come along," Dallas says of the land and the community in which he and his family live.

  • Carbon boy Cole Goodine competes against best of the best

    Carbon local Cole Goodine takes a breather after two rides at the Calgary Stampede on July 10, 2017.

    Competing in the Bareback category of the Calgary Stampede, Carbon boy Cole Goodine competes against the best of the best.

    Riding from July 7 to July 10 in the ‘A’ pool, Goodine was able to squeeze $3,000 out of the event.
    Within the sport of Bareback riding, control and flare are a cowboy’s two favourite assets.

    “The way to get the best marks is to show control but exposure while you’re still in control. So the longer the spurs stroke, the more wild it looks while you maintain control,” explained Goodine.

    Goodine split his winnings three out of the four days. On the final day, he was able to take a decent amount of pay for his re-ride.

    “The money got split up a lot, I never got one full cheque for myself.”

    Initially, Goodine started team roping and calf roping before discovering his love for bareback riding.

    Goodine got into the sport after he and a buddy tried it on a dare. After that, there was no going back.

    “I was hooked as soon as I got thrown through the air,” said Goodine.

    Goodine hangs on for dear life at a rodeo competition from earlier this year - Submitted photo

    Rodeo runs in the family.

    “My dad was a bull rider and my mom was a barrel racer and my grandpa was a bareback rider and my other grandpa was a calf roper”.

    “My mom literally planned me and my sisters’ births so that she could still barrel race and not miss out on anything,” said Goodine. “I was born in the saddle.”

    As of this past week, three generations of Goodine’s have now participated in Stampede.

    “Unreal, it’s pretty exciting. It’s always been a dream just to have my dad there with me.”

    Goodine got himself into ‘a bit of a wreck’ on the last day.

    “The horse came down on me and then once I got out of it, I got offered a re-ride and I was about to get on the re-ride when my dad was waiting there behind the chutes to help me out – make sure I was okay.”

    He rode the re-ride with ease, earning himself a cheque.

    This is Goodine’s first year fully committed to the sport after being laid-off from work. “I thought I might as well go for it.”

    This year he has been fighting with a number of minor to serious injuries due to the sport. He has a problem with the disk in his back as well as hip, rib problems, thumb dislocation, and a bone was put out in his foot.

    Goodine was ranked #1 in Canada last year until the end. He continually pushes himself to do better to compete with the best, year in and year out.

    “I typically train three to four hours a day, five to six days a week. I try to stay healthy and strong enough to compete with the best in the world. We’re all pushing harder and harder to be better and better and pushing the human limits.

    "In order to compete against the best, you have to push that a little bit more all the time,” said Goodine.

    When asked how it felt to compete on the world stage, Goodine smiled and fervently said “There’s not really words to describe it. It’s unreal to just be in the same category that they are.”

    Out of the four draws for horses, two were great, and two not so much.

    “There were two that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.”

    The first day, he got a horse that was difficult to ride but was able to regain himself on the next two.

    “So I got a couple horses that really suited me and a couple horses that did not but I managed to fight through it and I’m really proud of myself for that.”

    Despite the multiple injuries, Goodine has much more fight left in him for the rest of the rodeo season ahead.

    “There’s a lot of rodeo left and I’m feeling foxy.”

  • Barrel Racer Kristy White showcases Big Valley on world stage

    kirsty white

    Three-peat Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) qualifier Kristy White lit up Calgary Stampede last week with four top placing scores in the women’s barrel racing competition.

    After attending the first four days in the ‘A’ pool, White walked away with $15,000 in day money from the Calgary Stampede this past weekend.

    She was elated to represent the small village of Big Valley on the world stage, placing third on her first day with 17.42 seconds.

    “It’s been like a dream week really,” said White. “We had a really good run, I ended up placing in every round.”

    On her second day of the four-day competition bracket, she placed fourth only to climb into the number three position the next day with 17.54 seconds. On her final day, White placed top dog with a time of17.33 seconds.

    “Those are pretty good competitive times on a standard like that and kudos to Calgary because they kept the ground amazing so it was a very good barrel race.”

    She credits her Canadian born and bred horse Racy for performing so well at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

    “I raised her and I trained her so it’s nice to show that we are competitive on the world stage like that,” said White. “She’s a life changer. She has so much heart – she’s all heart.”

    Due to high qualifications and stiff competition, not many Canadians are represented at the world famous rodeo anymore.

    “They don’t allow a lot of Canadians in there because their qualifications are pretty stiff to get into so it’s just such a grand feeling to be able to showcase Canada,” said White. “Those girls that are there are all at the top, they are the top barrel racers in the world.”

    White moved to Big Valley 15 years ago from B.C. and has loved every second of it. “I love living here, it’s just amazing,” said White.

    White has plans to attend the CFR in Edmonton in November.

    “I got some really nice young horses too so I hope to give Racy a bit of a break and start riding those younger ones,” said White.

    As a horse trainer, her main focus has always been horses so during the winter months, White will travel to Arizona to continue riding and training throughout the year.

    “I pretty much ride everyday.”

  • Matt Howard making third appearance at Stampede

    Matt Howard of Drumheller, AB, makes his third appearance at the Calgary Stampede

    At only 15, Matt Howard is on his way back to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
    Over the last few years, Howard has been making a splash in the Junior Steer Riding Alberta Circuit. This will be his third appearance at the Calgary Stampede. He will be riding this Wednesday, July 12.
    He is excited to be back at the Stampede and explains that in the Junior Steer Riding division there is no need to qualify, but he has proved so far that he is up to the task.
    In the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) Alberta Circuit, while he hasn’t won any event this season he is ranked in the top six.
    “I was third up until this weekend, and he I was bumped down to fourth or fifth,” he said.
    This is Howard’s last year of Steer Riding and then he will go up to junior bulls. Howard rides for Bridgemen Services ofDidsbury, and wears the Canadian Cancer Society patch on his vest inhonour of his mother Tanya Howard who passed away from cancer in 2008.

  • Musicians shine at Stampede

    Abby Fooks, left and Ashton Lal competed at the Calgary Stampede Talent Search last week. submitted

    Two Drumheller musicians had the opportunity to bask in the bright lights at the Calgary Stampede.

    Ashton Lal, Grade 12 student at DVSS and Abby Fooks, who just graduated, already have a reputation as premier musicians in the valley. The two teamed up and entered the Calgary Stampede Talent Search.

    Ashton said it was a good experience.

    “We auditioned last month and made it in,” said Ashton. “So we played in the preliminary round last Saturday.”

    The pair performed “Somebody that I used to Know” by Gotye. Ashton played ukulele and percussion, and Fooks sang.

    He said there was really strong competition and they weren’t able to make it past the preliminary round. However, it was a good experience to get up in front of a large enthusiastic crowd.

    This wasn’ttheir only opportunity to perform on the grounds.

    “We still got to perform gigs around the Stampede. We played on Friday and Sunday and that was a lot of fun,” said Ashton, explaining they had a prepared30-minute set list.

    This was Ashton’s first time at the talent search, Fooks competed last year.

  • Three-peat for Zeke

    Big Valley native Zeke Thurston holds up his third consecutive cheque of $100,000 from the Calgary Stampede

    Big Valley star Zeke Thurston claims his third top win for saddle bronc from the Calgary Stampede on Sunday, July 16.
    With an outstanding score of 90 points on Timely Delivery during the opening round on Sunday, Zeke was able to rise above in the final four.
    On his final ride of the day in the final four, Thurston rode the famous Northcott Macza horse ‘Get Smart’, netting him the $100,000 win.
    “Every jump I thought I was going to get bucked off,” puffed Thurston, moments after his thrilling 92 point ride. “That horse bucks so hard. He’s probably only 800 pounds, but that’s one of the strongest horses I’ve ever been on.”
    A cowboy is only as good as the horse underneath him.
    “Honestly, that horse could buck you off any day of the week. I was just lucky to stay on.”
    Following the three-peat trend, this is not the first nor the last time Zeke and Get Smart have encountered each other. Ironically enough, the two horses and the Big Valley local worked together to win the Ponoka Stampede two weeks ago and plan to see each other again next weekend.

    Zeke Thurston's 92 point ride on 'Get Smart' during the Calgary Stampede rodeo finals on Sunday, July 16.


    Zeke’s championship score was just a half point higher than the 91.5 turned in by his friend Layton Green on Wild Cherry moments before.
    “That was pretty special to be riding against your buddy that you’ve known since you were eight years old,” insisted Zeke. “We grew up riding steers together, came up through high school rodeo, learned to ride broncs together, and now to be competing against him at Calgary, it’s pretty cool. He made an awesome ride. I knew I was going to have to do something to set myself apart. Turns out I had the buckier horse, was all.”
    Zeke, who just turned 23 on Saturday, hasn’t thought too much yet about making his mark in history as the first saddle bronc rider to notch three consecutive wins with the $100,000 paydays attached.
    “That’s crazy to me. You know, a lot of guys will go their whole careers and maybe never win this rodeo and to win it three years in a row, that’s unbelievable,” Zeke explained.
    Family, especially Zeke’s mother Lynda, was beyond proud to watch her own blood make history.
    “It feels pretty exciting, it actually took a little longer this time to sink in I think,” Lynda laughed. “It was a pretty great round of bronc riding. It was awesome to watch four outstanding horses and four good cowboys and yeah, it was close but I’m really proud of the ride that Zeke made. It was a heck of a ride.”
    Thurston’s takehome from Stampede was $110,000, with the cash he won earlier in the week; while Green gets the $25,000 bonus to go with his earlier $13,000 take.
    Taking the third place bonus of $15,000 for a 90 point ride on Stampede Warrior was Taos Muncy. Sterling Crawley also received a $10,000 bonus for his 89 point ride on Magic Carpet in the Showdown round.

     

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