Shankowsky family of Big Country Bison wins Premier Breeder Award

The Shankowsky family of Pelly who operate Big Country Bison won the Premier Breeder Award at a national event.

A total of 79 bison consigned by 17 bison producers from western Canada were sold by video auction at the Canadian Bison Association’s 26th National Show and Sale in Regina on November 20.

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The Shankowsky family has been showing their animals at the show and sale, which runs concurrently to the Canadian Western Agribition, for the past four years.

“Our bison herd was started in 1996 with the purchase of 10 heifer calves,” said Derek Shankowsky. “The herd has now grown to over 245 females in five separate herds.

“We raise our animals for the bison meat industry, but in the past four years we have also begun concentrating on breeding stock,” he said.

“The quality of our herd has improved greatly with the purchase of high-end bison breeding stock so now our focus is on the sales, and we feel we are doing quite well,” he said.

“We have been winning awards for our animals in the past, and we were very pleased to win the Premier Breeder Award in Regina. We faced competition from animals from British Columbia to Manitoba at this show and sale, and this was the largest number of animals at the Canadian National Bison Show and Sale since it began in 1993.

“Big Country Bison had eight animals entered in the various competition classes this year, and we took home awards for seven of the eight.

“One of our heifers captured two awards. She won first place in the bred heifer class, and won reserve grand champion.

The breeder who accumulates the most points from its entries is then awarded the Premier Breeder Award. Big Country Bison captured that award this year.

“To win this award while competing against so many animals is a real honour,” said Shankowsky.

“We are continually improving the quality of our herd by making select purchases of top quality breeding stock and meticulously selecting females out of our own herd.

“We are both proud and excited to be involved in the bison industry and see a very bright future for this industry in the upcoming years,” concluded Shankowsky.