KINBURN – It was a banner weekend for Kinburn’s Elm Holme Cattle Company bringing home two championship banners from Canada’s most prestigious agricultural fair.
It was the first time for the Elm Holme Cattle Company to compete at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair still underway in Toronto (Nov. 1 to 10) and it seems like it went pretty well.
The farm is coming home with the Angus Senior Female Calf Reserve Champion banner as well as the Champion Peewee Showperson for the Junior Angus Show.
Elm Holme Cattle Company is a family business involving Carp Fair past president Chad Findlay, his wife Abigail Argue-Findlay, their two sons Calahan and Jack and nephew Corbin McCord.
They have never shown at The Royal before, but now that Chad and Abigail’s sons are at the admissible age to participate in the 4-H Club, they gave it a shot. West Carleton Online caught up with Chad while he and Corbin were parked on the Don Valley Parkway on their way home from The Royal Winter Fair during Toronto rush hour. He had time to talk. Abigail, Calahan and Jack took the train home earlier in the day.
“Abbie and I got in to the registered black angus about 12 years ago,” Chad said. “This is the first year our kids have been able to join the 4-H club and show cattle. So, this was the first year for us exhibiting at The Royal as Elm Holme.”
Calahan is 10 and was responsible for showing in the Angus Senior Female Calf division of the National Angus Show while Jack, 9, took home the Champion Peewee Showperson at the Royal Junior Angus Show.
“So, we had a very good day today,” Chad said.
The family spent the season showing cattle around the region.
“We’ve probably attended 10 to 15 fairs throughout the fall and we had very competitive cattle and that’s what made us decide to go to The Royal,” Chad said. “It’s the culmination of everyone’s season.”
While it was the first time for Elm Holme exhibiting at The Royal, the Findlays are regular visitors to Canada’s premier agricultural show attending pretty much every year.
Chad says his sons’ first season of showing has laid a foundation.
“For our first trip as exhibitors, that was exciting and has sparked interest in the boys participating in the 4-H program,” he said.
A huge part of showing cattle, is obviously the breeding.
“It’s the same as any animal competition,” Chad said. “We’re trying to create the best animal.”
That involves muscle and bone structure, docility and creating the best daily gains using the least amount of feed. This year’s Royal Fair included the National Canadian Angus Show as part of the event. That means there were angus breeders from all over Canada.
“You’re in the strongest competition in the world,” Chad said. “It certainly puts you on the map. It’s certainly humbling.”
Chad says some of the breeders come from large ranches with herds of more than 3,000 cattle not unheard of in western Canada and the United States.
The Findlays and McCord headed to Toronto last Wednesday (Oct. 30) with McCord showing in the junior show Friday and Saturday and the open angus show on Sunday. While some of the classes focus solely on the cow, the showman classes focus on the handler as well.
“It’s a balance between the animal and how you show it,” Chad said. “You have to make it look its best in any situation.”
While this was Elm Holme Cattle Company’s first time exhibiting at The Royal, the Findlays have lots of experience. Abigail grew up in 4-H and showing cattle and Chad has a long history with the Carp Fair acting as agriculture president in 2018.
“Abigail definitely grew up in the show industry,” Chad said.
The team shares duties getting the animals ready for the show. Abigail focused on the showmanship and getting the boys up to speed on showing. Chad focuses on breeding and feeding, and McCord focuses on the grooming – all three combining , along with Calahan and Jack, to present award-winning cattle.
“It went really good, it was definitely an exciting week,” Chad said. “We’re in the barn at 2:30 a.m. prepping the animals and don’t leave the barn until 9 or 10 p.m. Some pretty short sleep patterns. But it makes it all worth it when you can bring home a couple banners.”