Don Richardson of Richardson Ranch provided this historical image of the Williams Lake Stockyards on the lake for the cover of the 80th annual Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale catalogue.

Don Richardson of Richardson Ranch provided this historical image of the Williams Lake Stockyards on the lake for the cover of the 80th annual Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale catalogue.

CATTLE COUNTRY: 80th Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale

Decades of western heritage will be on display and celebrated at the 80th annual Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale.

Decades of western heritage will be on display and celebrated at the 80th annual Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale next week, April 12 and 13.

Since 1937, buyers and sellers have gathered in the lakecity to take part in the critical work of selecting quality bulls to build their herds.

Hereford bull consignor Neil Turner of Salmon Arm was just a boy when he first attended the Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale with his dad and has heard the stories of how cattle made the long journey to the sale back in 1945 told by his grandfather and father, Charles and Gordon Turner.

Neil said 72 years ago his grandfather Charles took  12 Hereford bulls from Salmon Arm by C.P. Rail car to Vancouver.

He unloaded the animals at Burns Feed Lot for 10 hours to water and feed them, then reloaded the bulls back on the rail car with another three bulls.

Neil said the box car was then loaded on a barge headed up Howe Sound and on to Squamish where they were unloaded from the barge and loaded on the PGE Rail heading to Williams Lake.

At the time, the Williams Lake Stockyards were situated along the rail tracks on Williams Lake where the animals came and went from the sale.

Gordon ate and slept with the bulls in the box car. Neil said the trip took about six days, and the 12 bulls sold for a total of $3,000.

Neil and his family are still an important part of the show and sale, with six of Neil’s Sunnybrae Farm Hereford bulls registered to be a part of the 80th show and sale next week.

While some things have remained the same, others have changed.

These days it typically only takes one afternoon or day for sellers to transport their prized bulls to market via truck and trailer. Another change has seen the Williams Lake Stockyards relocated from the shores of the lake to its current location on Cattle Drive on the north side of the city. The move paved the way for a much more modern facility with more acreage and easy access off Highway 97.

The first bull sale hosted at the new stockyards took place 19 years ago on Oct. 1, 1998.

The stockyards have also seen a shift in staffing this year, with longtime BC Stockyard secretary Pam Abrahamse making a career change and manager Wilf Smith easing into semi-retirement after 30 years.

“It’s been a big highlight in my life, that’s for sure,” Smith said of the show and sale.

“The best bulls in the world come to Williams Lake. It’s been one of the greatest events we’ve ever had.”

The two will both be on hand for the show and sale to work together once again, with Abrahamse taking on the role as the show and sale secretary and Smith as the show opener and auctioneer.

This year’s judge will be Mike Altwasser, manager of the Blue Goose Cattle Company.

In all, 158 Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Simmental, and Hereford bulls will be sold to the highest bidder.

Everyone is invited to attend the event, with the show getting underway Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Williams Lake Stockyards. The Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale will also be hosting its Buyers and Sellers Social starting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Williams Lake Curling Club.

On Thursday, the sale gets underway at 11 a.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Williams Lake Lions Club members will be hosting a battery recycling drive on Earth Day, April 22 at the corner of Oliver Street and Third Avenue from 2 to 5 p.m. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake Lions Club hosting recycle battery event on Earth Day

Keeping heavy metals out of landfills reason enough to think differently about recycling batteries

A two-hectare fire is burning between Canim Lake and Hawkins Lake. (Photo submitted).
Firefighters battling two-hectare blaze near Hawkins Lake

Black smoke can be seen in Forest Grove.

Brette Kerley and Pyper Alexander, who both played their early minor hockey careers in Williams Lake and are now players for the Prince George-based Northern Capitals, will both be continuing their careers next season as post-secondary players. (Photo submitted)
Alexander, Kerley, looking forward to university hockey careers

Brette Kerley, Pyper Alexander excited about move on to next level in hockey careers

Williams Lake resident Richard Norman (front) is thankful for the recent addition of a motorized grocery cart at Save-On-Foods allowing him and other low-mobility residents to more freely get around the store. Pictured from Save-On-Foods are store manager Mark Moyes (back from left) and assistant store managers Harrison Rose and Matt Sidor. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Resident thankful for another low-mobility shopping option in lakecity

Save-On-Foods adds motorized grocery cart for shoppers’ use

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood, this includes protecting one’s home by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-normal spring flood season

High-streamflow advisory issued for the Cariboo Region and areas including Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read