Farewell to cattle association

By Geoff Lee

June 15, 2017 12:00 AM

All’s well that ends well.
That’s the way it’s going to play out for the Lea Park Cattle Association, which is holding its farewell supper after 64 years of operations.
The event, to be held at the Lea Park Rodeo beer gardens at 5:30 p.m. on June 21, will feature the presentation of $390,000 to worthy charities.
About 70 per cent of the charity funds will go to non-profits in the communities of Marwayne, Heinsburg, and Tulliby Lake.
“Over the years, the members have come from those three communities,” said Tracy George, secretary treasurer of the Association to explain the weighting.
She said the remaining 30 per cent will be split evenly between Stars Air Ambulance and Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. The charity funds come from the sale of the Association’s two quarters of land in 2016.
“We were surprised how much money we got,” said George.
The land was acquired in 1949 by local producers to sell yearlings each fall without having to travel out of the area to an auction mart in places like Lloydminster and Vermilion.
George said back in those days, ranchers in the area had pastures north of the North Saskatchewan River and before a bridge was built, they would ferry cattle across the river.
Rather than having to ferry them back and take them to auction in a different town, they decided to buy land and build a facility and have an auction sale there.
“The reason we sold the land is the changing times,” said George. “Producers are now selling their cattle online or they are larger producers, and are able to sell their own lots rather than go to an auction mart.”
The Association held its last yearly sale in 2013 when the writing was on the wall.
“We figured out in 2014 we didn’t have a sale,  and in 2015 we decided we would put the land up for sale,” said George.

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