Bluffton-area rancher takes the heifers in Ponoka Stampede Cattle Raffle

Ponoka Stampede director Terry Jones, left, with the Tennant family. (Photo submitted)
The 50-bred heifers being loaded. (Photo submitted)The 50-bred heifers being loaded. (Photo submitted)
The Tennant family children out feeding the new heifers. (Photo submitted)The Tennant family children out feeding the new heifers. (Photo submitted)

The winner of the Ponoka Stampede Association’s (PSA’s) 2021 Cattle Raffle has chosen to take the 50-bred Black Angus heifers rather than the $75,000 in cash, and the family is quite pleased with their decision.

Stacy Tennant and his wife Sally operate a Black Angus cattle ranch north of Bluffton in the Hoadley area. They calve out about 650 cows per year and 50 heifers are a welcome addition.

Sally bought two raffle tickets for Stacy for Father’s Day.

“One of them was the lucky one,” said Stacy.

Stacy says $75,000 is a “nice shot of money,” but “farming isn’t a get-rich scheme.”

Stacy says as soon as they saw the heifers, they knew what their decision would be.

The Tennants came out to look at the cattle and did a random inspection to verify the details of the group and were very pleased with what they saw.

“My family, as soon as we saw them, I knew we would take them,” said Stacy, adding the heifers were everything his family wanted and are perfect.

“When they saw the smiles they knew we were hooked.”

Their kids wanted to take the cattle as well, says Stacy.

“They’re ranch kids — they love the animals, they take care of them better than some adults … it gives them a job.”

Since their operation is already a Black Angus breeding program and they already use bulls from Brian Sutter, the offspring from the new heifers will basically be the same, and so were a perfect fit.

“It’s like it was scripted for us,” he said.

The new heifers will calve about a month earlier than the rest of their herd, but Stacy says they’ll handle it just fine.

The heifers are now grazing in their own pasture where they will be quarantined for a month before being introduced to the rest of the herd. In the meantime, they are de-stressing from their move and adjusting to their new environment quite nicely.

“They’re laying down, enjoying the breeze … happy heifers, happy rancher,” said Stacy.

They are expecting a normal pregnancy rate of 75 to 80 per cent from the new heifers.

“I’m sure the offspring will be great,” he said, adding the bulls with the heifers are great and the heifers didn’t have any problems during transport and are in good shape.

And they’re very pleased with their new “fancy” cows, says Stacey.

Black Angus cows are known for their mothering instinct and longevity traits.

“I’m sure this group I won here will just be a great group of mothers.”

Now they just need the ‘Hay Fairy’ to send rain and clear the smoky air, which makes it difficult for any farmer or rancher who can’t just stay indoors, says Stacy.

There is currently a hay shortage, and with the recent hot weather and little rain, grass is in short supply.

Stacy says he was impressed with everyone involved with the cattle raffle, from how the paperwork was handled, to the care and transport of the heifers and their quality.

“It’s a great thing, whether it’s $75,000 or the heifers. I appreciate them getting good animals for the draw.”

PSA directors Terry Jones and Blair Vold were good to deal with, and you could tell that everyone involved are passionate about cattle, he says.

“You can tell they’re animal people.”

Ponoka Stampede