Dick Hunt's Blog

December 15, 2012

Bill Hunt and Wilf Carter

Filed under: Current — Tags: , — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 10:03 pm

Bill Hunt and Wilf Carter.
by Dick Hunt, December 15th, 2012

When I sat with my wife in her care home yesterday afternoon, we listened to a guitarist singing and “yodeling” and that brought back fond memories to me of my boyhood. We had local singers in our prairie neighborhood who were budding yodelers and the man yesterday was quite good. I tried to be one of those but was not much of a success. My brother Bill was four years my junior and shaping up to be a great Rancher and Cattleman.

Under the tutelage of my Father, a very successful and resourceful Rancher, Bill was cut out to be a top of the line leader in the Cattle Industry. At the age of 21 he was given a 3 year contract to transform a Guest Ranch” (read, “Dude Ranch”) into a successful Cattle Ranch. The owner was a man who called himself “Colonel Snyder” but it was never divulged what he was Colonel of. Perhaps he was fond of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Bill stepped into the job with a staff of 22 men and women who knew nothing of Cattle Raising as a business. So he fired the whole lot of them, scouted around and found four men with a background in farm and ranch work and a Lady cook. The plan was to make ready for bringing in a breeding herd of beef cattle and building a profit based operation. He found a herd of Black Angus cows which was being dispersed and persuaded Col. Snyder to buy them which he did. Bill scouted the area and found sources of hay and grain which could be be harvested in the field, purchased and brought to the ranch. To make a long story short a functioning ranch was in operation within two years and making a profit. Oh, and Bill still looked too young to command respect from the crew, so he grew a walrus moustache’.

One of Bill’s closest neighbours was Wilf Carter, a fine Rancher and good friend. They had much in common, but not yodeling. And then the Colonel broke the contract, paid Bill part of his wages and sold the cattle. And Bill was out of a job.

Fortunately, our Father had bought out a group of small ranchers in eastern Alberta and Bill assumed the management of the Ranch in short grass country (The Palliser Triangle) where it took 50 acres of grass per cow as a year round operation. With the lease land and the deeded land, the total was 48,000 acres and the fences at time of purchase was 120 miles long. That was soon shortened by blending various areas to regroup and then it was 80 miles of fence to maintain. Then Dad retired, that spread was sold, I went off to study for the Ministry, my eldest brother moved to a smaller acreage and Bill assumed management of the original home ranch. He brought in a breed of cattle from France called “Charolais”, light coloured, high in pebbled fat in the lean meat, very high quality. He became the Alberta president of the Breed association then the Canadian President and then the world President and led the breeders to be prominent in the Beef Cattle Industry. The popularity of the breed became a great success story. Bill and his wife Lee traveled extensively about the world; to Europe, to South Africa, to Japan to, mention a few of their travels.

And then Bill contracted Lou Gehrigs Disease. After suffering steady deteriation of his ability to move on his own, he was reduced to being totally dependent upon others for everything. Lee looked after him at home during that very trying period until finally, after three years following the initial diagnosis, he passed away peacefully at home, and has left an immense gap in our family and in the Livestock Industry, world wide.

He was a great Brother and a fine Citizen. God rest his soul.

2 Comments »

  1. Hi Dick I got this story from you at the care home on Sunday, thanks it was interesting and a bit of history also..A good story and sounds like a fine man. Richard

    Comment by Richard — December 17, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  2. I came across your blog from two years ago. You were talking about Bishop Ralph Dean. Oh, I loved that man. As a young child growing up in Greenville, SC, I use to watch my mother and “uncle “Ralph play tennis. Tonight, I woke thinking about him. I decided to google him, out of curiosity, and ran across your blog. I suspect that Bishop Dean was speaking to me tonight.

    I will forever be blessed by his love,friendship and allowing me to call him Uncle Ralph.

    Thank you for sharing a small part of this incredible man.

    Comment by Julia Townsend Easterby — December 28, 2012 @ 2:14 am


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