Vernon Davidson grew up on a grain farm and commercial cattle operation, in the Cadillac, Saskatchewan area, learning breeding, selecting, feeding, and AIing cattle from his dad, Angus Davidson. It wasn't long before he was part of 4-H and learning all the ins and outs of record keeping, halter breaking, clipping, and showing cattle! Breaking his horse, learning to rope, square bales, and some stoking of grain sheaves were the norm. He easily remembers the use of stock racks to transport cattle to market or wherever cattle needed to be taken. Cream cans, Sunday night suppers with family & neighbours, driving early, neighbours' brandings, and the first colour TV are part of their family's earliest fond memories growing up!
Eileen Gorrill grew up not far away, near the small town of Ponteix, Saskatchewan on a grain and commercial cattle operation. She remembers picking rocks into a steel wheeled wagon, getting central water in and out of their family home, helping her mother gather the milk cows for milk, separating milk, selling cream, and making butter for home use. Her dad made some of the first cabs for tractors in the area. Other fun memories include learning to drive and shift a three in the tree truck - making homemade ice cream on hot days and what a huge treat that was! 4-H was part of her fond memories of growing up, including sewing classes and later a 4-H horse project. Vernon and Eileen both went on to be 4-H leaders! Making do, fixing everything, and going to church Sundays, Sunday night suppers with family, friends and neighbours were the norm. Record keeping skills were learned and early on engraved as she watched many family members, more so her mother, Florence, today at 86, and her late paternal Grandfather Harold keeping records!
After Vernon and Eileen were married on March 26th, 1976, they raised grain and commercial cattle for many years. Vernon purchased his first farmland at Cadillac in 1975 when he was 17 years old while completing his last year of high school. More land has since been added to that first 3 quarters of rocky farmland, and over time, many grain fields have been re-seeded to tame grass. Native pasture for grazing and grain production for feeding or selling, rounds out the typical production cycle each season.
The Gelbvieh breed kept on speaking for itself in their feedlot, in the replacement females, and the resultant calf crop too! In 1986, Vernon convinced Eileen that they should raise seedstock cattle, not any breed, but Gelbvieh, 100%! Their kids were 7 year old Carla, Glen 5 years old, and Ross was 3 years old. Tyler was yet to be born in 1987! A busy happening time in this young family's life!
Vernon & Eileen so appreciated and witnessed the calving ease, yet easy fleshing abilities, temperament, muscle, carcass yield, and the maternal, yet terminal characteristics the Gelbvieh breed contributed! Over the years, the commercial herd was sold and they began growing their herd of initially fullblood, and now purebred red and black Gelbvieh cattle. Black purebred genetics were first introduced in the fall of 1990 with the purchase of embryos from the Beartooth International Ranch at Columbus, Montana owned by Mel Gibson! And yes we all did get to meet him, several times, at both his ranch in Australia and Montana!
Some of the real highlights of developing our program had to be going to Brockway, Montana, the operation of Phil and Dolorie Haglund and selecting 21 Stalone daughters in the calving field. Little did we know they were all out of the same sire! Another directional decision - going to Billings and selecting 2 year olds from the Seaford operation, on auction, with bull calves at their side!
Paying close attention to bloodlines that could be depended on to add pounds at weaning, structural balance, yield, and eye appeal were some of Vernon & Eileen's early selection tools. Testicle size and problem free udders went along with their plans to balance a program, with a reputable herd that could be depended on to be predictable! They decided to specialize and established the DVE prefix and the cattle company, Davidson Gelbvieh. Vernon had convinced Eileen to raise purebred cattle, but she knew that if they were to become a credible seedstock breeder, they would have to call all stops and travel to get to see the best genetics and stay in tune with all the happenings in the livestock arena. And they did and do! They are now long-time registered breeders of the Canadian Gelbvieh Association and the American Gelbvieh Association!
Vernon has served as President of the Canadian Gelbvieh Association. Always supportive of the cattle industry, they are also members of the Saskatchewan Stockgrowers Association, the American Gelbvieh Association, the Man/SK Gelbvieh Association, the BC/AB Gelbvieh Association and the Montana Gelbvieh Association.
Vernon and Eileen have both served in the director capacity of the Man/Sk Gelbvieh Association. Eileen served as a Director on the Saskatchewan Stockgrowers Association from 2007 - 2011. She was once again elected to the Man/Sk Gelbvieh Association in December 2020. Eileen is also a representative for the Gelbvieh breed, part of the Beef Committee at Canadian Western Agribition. She has enjoyed working and contributing to this committee for many years.
Ross & Tara Davidson & Family (Ash, Cameron, Jaime & Flynn) Glen & Julie Davidson & Family (Amara, Kegan & Anica) Vernon's Mom - Marlene Davidson, Vernon & Eileen Davidson, Eileen's Mom - Florence Gorrill, Mario & Carla Chabot & Family (Morgan & Nathan) Tyler & Melanie Davidson & Family (Sage & Sadie)
Their family of one daughter, Carla, and three sons, Glen, Ross, and Tyler, were all instrumental as they contributed to the everyday learning and development of a seedstock operation. They were a huge part of that early success - halter breaking, selecting, breeding, and showing cattle, that would be part of the much larger picture down the road. Industry cattle events and trade shows were, and are a very enjoyable time of the year for all of us, and a time to get to know fellow cattle breeders across the industry.
We are very proud and richly blessed to have three daughters-in-law: Julie, Tara, and Melanie, and a son-in-law Mario, and 11 young grandchildren, 15 years and under!
Morgan, Carla, Mario & Nathan Chabot; Anica, Amara, Julie, Glen, & Kegan Davidson; Ross, Tara, Flynn, Jaime, Ash & Cameron Davidson; Melanie, Tyler, Sadie & Sage Davidson. Parents - Vernon & Eileen Davidson
Vernon & Eileen participate along with some of their family, each year in events such as the Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, Saskatchewan, Farmfair International in Edmonton, Alberta and the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado. Some of their most heartfelt wins have to be from their clients stepping up to the plate and buying bulls for their operations and not holding back when they sensed the bull or bulls they needed - and their repeat buyers who they get to visit with often! And looking back: selling cattle internationally to Australia, New Zealand, and the USA before they were hardly into the seedstock industry! Selling cattle to Mexico! Winning the Bull Futurities (2)in Canada and the real deal when 53 members of the AGA deemed their bull to be the Futurity winner at the NWSS, in Denver, Colorado!
We have been fortunate to be called upon to judge cattle and happily we have said yes to the honour and seen many great producers and great cattle across the industry!
Every year we are humbled to see the listing of DVE cattle that make the cut and have for many years, to be included in the CGA listed of Most Dams of Merit and Dams of Distinction!
We couldn't do it all without our family, friends, clients and the cattle! They have been the catalyst who kept us focused!
You know sometimes things just happen, but that hasn't been the case for the Gelbvieh breed. We have always been supported by great staff. Our current CEO, Sarah, goes above and beyond to facilitate the happening of our breed. When we need her help she always finds a way to make it look easy!
Today finds us easily registering our new calf crop, with Digital Beef, using a lot of new marketing agendas, and buying and selling cattle online. New genetics are a must and we've invested once again, over the last year, with a substantial investment in many new bloodlines to ensure we keep learning, selecting, and breeding for the fresh offerings at our future Gelbvieh bull sales.
We will host our 34th Annual Bull Sale, Friday, March 3rd, 2023 along with Lonesome Dove Ranch, Ross and Tara Davidson, our son and daughter-in-law and their family, Ash, Cameron, Jaime, and Flynn.