Steve Burgomaster compares his prize bull’s latest achievement to winning the Super Bowl. In January, his Charolais bull Double Vision from Sharodon Farm in Omemee won the 2018 US National Reserve Champion Bull title.
The weekend event also included the national stock sale. In the semen auction, Double Vision was in the lead-off lot. For sale were 500 specimens, called “straws” in the business, which attracted US$19,500- the top price of the sale. Almost as important as the amount of cash was the source of it. Polzin Cattle and Thomas Ranch, from the mid-west, purchased the exclusive right to market semen from this bull across the United States. Polzin Cattle is one of the top US breeders and uses embryos as well as traditional insemination techniques to develop their cattle into prize winners.
This was not the first major title earned by Double Vision. He also won Reserve National Champion Bull and the Calf Champion at the 2016 Royal Winter Fair, where he caught the attention of one of the judges who is also a major breeder from Alberta. This judge and a fellow breeder from Saskatchewan purchased a half interest in Double Vision immediately after that competition. The half interest was sold “with possession”, meaning Double Vision moved out west performing stud service.
With this track record, all owners recognized the potential value Double Vision’s genetic pedigree and transported the bull to Bow Valley Genetics in Alberta for the winter, where he underwent strict health tests to qualify as a candidate for the sale of semen in North America.
Breeders are always looking for top bulls to diversify the genetic pool of their herds. This one sports a long, deep body, smooth front with a solid hip and top which is appealing to breeders. His friendly demeanour doesn’t hurt, either. As a homozygous polled animal, he has no horns and furthermore, none of his offspring, even those bred to horned cattle, will have horns, a very desirable characteristic in the industry.
In addition to progeny stemming from semen collections, Double Vision’s stud service has also resulted in 27 heifers in Saskatchewan and some local offspring- his first calves were born this January at the Hall farm on County Rd. 21 outside Millbrook. According to Steve Burgomaster, the calves’ arrival was swift and uncomplicated and the animals look very promising.
The Burgomasters are proud of this significant achievement. With a herd of 25 cows, their operation is small, but they have lots of experience. Steve’s parents began breeding Charolais at the farm in 1971, making the Burgomasters one of the longest established breeders in Ontario. Through selective breeding, nurturing and careful attention to nutrition, they develop their animals to reach their genetic potential.
Securing top prizes requires effective marketing and attending shows. While the show season begins locally in Millbrook, most require extensive travel across Canada and the US. Developing prize animals requires work both on the farm and on the road. The family is grateful for the help of local vets and nutritional consultants and their team of family, friends and neighbours who keep things running on the farm while they are in the ring drawing attention to their prize animals. For the Burgomasters, the investment in time and money has paid off, and not just for Double Vision but for the rest of their herd at home.
Steve likes to say that this bull is checking off a lot of boxes on his bucket list, but this breeder’s pride is not limited to this particular animal. He is pleased to have earned the respect of local cattle breeders who have purchased many animals over the years from their small herd, and the Sharodon farm story is not over yet. Double Vision returns to Alberta this spring, when his first herd bull prospect will be available for sale. KG