An aerial view of the Williams Lake Stockyards taken during a flyover in 2020. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

An aerial view of the Williams Lake Stockyards taken during a flyover in 2020. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale in its 84th year

This year’s sale will be online and in person

The 84th Annual Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale is expected to roll into town April 15 and 16 at the Williams Lake Stockyards.

“We are excited to be having a live sale,” said Pam Abrahamse, secretary of the Williams Lake Bull Sale Association. “We only did it online last year. It will also be broadcasted by DLMS.”

Producers from Abbotsford, Big Lake Ranch, Coldstream, Creston, Fort St. James, Hope, Little Fort, Kamloops, Pritchard, Quesnel, Salmon Arm, Smithers and Tlell are providing 69 bulls for the sale — Angus, Gelbvieh and Hereford breeds included.

A Smithers producer will be bringing five Red Angus replacement heifers for the sale as well.

Pre-COVID, it was typical to see 120 or more bulls at the sale, which was also a highly anticipated social gathering for many B.C. ranchers.

This year things will look different due to the pandemic.

The show will start at 1 p.m. Thursday, with trophy presentations after each class with the sale beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday.

Abrahamse said 2021 Williams Lake Stampede Royalty contestants will be participating along with auctioneers Larry Jordan, Wilf Smith, Wayne Jordan and Wayne Pincott and show judge Bob Miller from Kamloops.

DLMS will also be providing online viewing of the animals at the Williams Lake yards prior to the sale at DLMS.ca

All of the bulls have to brought in by Wednesday, April 14 at 9 a.m. for sifting, followed with inspection of the bulls by the sale veterinarian and the selection committee at 10 a.m.

Anyone wanting to view the bulls will be able to on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday.

Following BC Livestock Producers Co-op COVID protocols, 50 people maximum are permitted to attend the live sale in person. Everyone will be asked to sign and sit with their own households.

There will be no equipment tradeshow this year, which is always a popular aspect of the show and sale.

As this is the 84th year of the bull sale it seemed appropriate to look back into the Tribune archives for that first year of the sale in 1938.

According to the June 9, 1938 edition, during a joint meeting of the Cariboo Livestock and Fair Association and the Cariboo Stockmens Association a committee was elected of three to handle and inaugurate an annual bull sale to be held in Williams Lake.

Committee members were G. A. Luyat, district agriculturalist, as the secretary-manager, with R.C. Cotton and R. Pigeon to assist in the handling of the sale.

In the Sept. 29, 1938 edition, it was reported that local breeder C.E. Wynn-Johnson of Alkali Lake Ranch realized the urgent need of better herds in the district and was taking an active lead in encouraging the raising of registered cattle and pure-bred herds.

“Mr. Wynn-Johnson has 18 young registered Hereford bulls entered in the Williams Lake Bull Sale on Oct. 6 in competition with high quality bulls from Prairie herds,” noted the newspaper.

The Tribune reported on Oct. 13, 1938 that 45 imported bulls were sold in the auction sales with the top price bull, Sunny Brae Nabob, of Westwold, being purchased by Wynn-Johnson for $180 and the 45 bulls sold averaged $121.77.

In comparison, at the sale in 2018, 121 bulls sold for an average price of $4,420. The highest sale was when Sutton Ranch in 150 Mile House paid $9,250 for an Angus from Dan and Janette Speller’s Sealin Ranch at Monte Lake, B.C., according to Tribune records.

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