Little Fort Herefords celebrates 70th anniversary

The event was held in conjunction with the Thompson Valley Hereford Breeders’ annual Field Day and Junior Show.

North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo president Jill Hayward (r) presents a “limited edition hammer” to the Jim family in recognition of their financial help in building the North Thompson Agriplex in Barriere. Pictured with her are (l-r) Kee

North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo president Jill Hayward (r) presents a “limited edition hammer” to the Jim family in recognition of their financial help in building the North Thompson Agriplex in Barriere. Pictured with her are (l-r) Kee

More than 150 people turned up on Saturday, July 10, to help the Jim family celebrate the 70th anniversary of their Little Fort Herefords ranch.

The event was held in conjunction with the Thompson Valley Hereford Breeders’ annual Field Day and Junior Show.

Highlight of the day was the presentation of a memorial scroll for the late Gung Loy Jim to his wife, Marie, and sons Kam, Kym, Kee and Kyn. The presentation was made by Daryl Kirton, vice-president of the Canadian Hereford Association.

Gung Loy Jim started raising Herefords in Little Fort in 1943 with three heifers, Kirton said.

Over the decades the breeding program at the ranch developed into one of the most successful in western Canada.

It was one of the first to adopt embryo transplants and in vitro fertilization for breeding.

Bulls from Little Fort Herefords consistently have won championship and grand championship prizes in Kamloops and Williams Lake.

Until his death in 1995, Gung Loy Jim was a strong and effective promoter of Hereford cattle.

Loy Jim and his wife, Marie, had four sons: Kam, who manages the farm as well as the stores in Little Fort and Clearwater, Kym, a nephrologist who practises in Red Deer, Kee, a veterinarian and cattle feed expert based out of Okotoks, and Kyn, a radiologist who live in Grande Prairie.

Marie plus all four sons were on hand for the presentation of the scroll.

Another highlight of the day was a video produced and presented by Kym Jim.

The video consisted of still photos, film clips, and audio recordings.

“Most of you here knew Gung Loy Jim,” said Kym Jim. “I wanted to show sides of my father that people did not know.”

The video began with Gung Loy Jim’s grandfather, Jim Young Fat, who travelled from China to California in 1868 to work on the California Pacific Railway. Jim Young Fat’s son, Kam Kee Jim moved to Little Fort in 1919.

Gung Loy Jim was born in 1920. At the age of 18 he started Taweel Fishing Camp. The venture was so successful that five years later he was able to start raising Hereford cattle on the ranch in Little Fort.

One reason for the fishing camp’s success was the large size of the fish. Ten pound trout were common, and those under five pounds were thrown back.

The video included several humorous stories about the fish camp, including the mishaps that happened to a wealthy client after he fell off his horse. When he came back the next year he brought a first aid book for the camp.

A third highlight was the presentation by North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo president Jill Hayward of a “limited edition hammer,” in recognition of the Jim family’s donation of $100,000 to help with the construction of the Agriplex building on the fall fair grounds.

The Agriplex wouldn’t have been built without this and similar generous donations by North Thompson residents, Hayward said.

Other events held during the field day included a judging workshop for members of the Canadian Junior Hereford Association, a clinic on barrel racing with two-time professional world champion Lindsay Sears, a prime rib dinner, plus music and dancing in the evening.