On December 18, 1970 the association's organizational meeting was held. A group of interested people who wanted to form the Alberta Simmental Association felt that with the number of Simmental breeders in the immediate area and with their proximity to the Lacombe Research Station (which had started the local interest with their co-operating herds) they could form the nucleolus of a strong provincial organization. The group also felt that Red Deer was centrally located as far as the cattle population of the province was concerned.
Those attending the meeting unanimously agreed to go ahead with the formation of an association. And Malcolm Mackenzie was asked to prepare a draft of the Constitution and By-laws.
At a meeting held on March 17, 1971 a Societies Act of Alberta application for the new Simmental Association was signed in Red Deer, Alberta. The five gentlemen signing the association application that day were William (Bill) Guenther, Sylvan Lake, Alberta; Donald A. Carlyle, Blackfalds, Alberta; Keith Sim, Red Deer, Alberta; and Clay Rasmussen, Delburne, Alberta. The Alberta Simmental association was officially incorporated on March 23, 1971.
At the next meeting of the association on April 7th, the following provisional directors were elected: William (Bill) Guenther, Sylvan Lake, President; Malcolm Mackenzie, Red Deer, Secretary-Treasurer; and the directors were Clay Rasmussen, Delburne; Donald A. Carlyle, Blackfalds; Donald R. Carlyle, Mirror; Warren Barritt, Alix; and Carl Wilson, Drumheller, AB.
The meeting also allowed the setup of the geographical limits for the directorship. These were set between three directors living midway from Township 25 south and the Alberta-Montana Border; four directors living between Township 53 south and Township 25; and 2 directors living north of Township 53.
The first Alberta Simmental Association sale was held on June 7th and the net proceeds of $9,307.82, along with memberships, started the bank account for the ASA.
During the first annual meeting, held at the Red Deer Inn on November 6, 1971, it was reported that 79 Life, 11 Junior and 1 Annual memberships were sold. The Alberta Simmental Association was well underway and a good feeling was buzzing within the cattle industry. The 2nd annual ASA sale was subsequently held on June 5, 1972.
In 1973 the Alberta Simmental Association held its first Simmental Bull and Female sale at the Edmonton Northlands spring show. The sale was held the last week of March with 23 bulls and heifers consigned to it.
The Simmental breed was quickly gaining popularity and the second sale in 1974 at Northlands had a consignment of 117 head. The sale was managed by Wes Alm, Don Jess, and MJT Sales Management.
Dave Sharp and Otto Streberg managed the 1995 Simmental sale in Edmonton. They sold 75 lots (both bulls and females).
A major step was taken in 1976 at the Northland show, as a Simmental show was added to the sale for the first time. The Grand Champion Bull Award was awarded to Bannister Simmentals, Edmonton, Alberta. In the female division, the Reserve Champion Bull honours went to Bar 15 Simmentals, Claresholm, Alberta. In the female division the Grand Champion honours were given to Harold Watson, Cardston, Alberta and the Reserve Champion went to Danny Lee of Lousana, Alberta. That year was the first year that Transcon managed the ASA sale at Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta. Twenty years later, Transcon is still at the helm and breeders still bring out superior stock for show and sale.
Another first for Simmental was the start of the Grande Prairie spring show. In 1976 several contributors traveled north to the town with 40 head of bulls and females. Apparently, more females were sold at that sale than bulls. The second sale, held the following year, was even bigger and more successful because over 50 head were sold.
Another challenge faced the association in the fall of 1975. The ASA applied to the board of directors of the Calgary Bull Sale and asked to be included in the1976. Sale board was not entirely enthusiastic about the ASA’s participation.
Many folks remember the World Simmental Conference held at the Calgary Stampede in 1978. Canada hosted the world. Keith Sveinsen was the President and Jonathon Fox was the judge- the only judge we have had who was mounted on horseback. By then the breed was really on a roll!
Sims Auction Services sold several Simmental animals, and organized other purebred sales in Red Deer. One particular year, Sims Auction Services held 72 breed sales!
The Alberta Simmental Association has made great strides over the years. Our hats go off to people who believed that this spotted breed from the Simme Valley in Switzerland would work here in Alberta. Little did they know this breed of European cattle would become the number one breed in Canada in just 27 years.