The Early Stages of the Starbuck Saga
The events leading to the acquisition of the young calf Starbuck is the perfect illustration of the saying "being in the right place at the right time".
Inspection of Young Bulls
To set the scene, it should be mentioned that each spring CIAQ sent representatives to Ontario to make mating contracts on cows of particular interest and to inspect young bulls. Robert Chicoine and Harley Nicholson (1) made such a trip in May 1979.
Here is the story of a very unexpected yet memorable meeting on May 8, 1979 as told by Robert Chicoine.
“Late one afternoon, after a long day on the road, Harley and I ended up in the Port Perry region and our plan was to spend the night in Oshawa. It was a particularly mild and sunny day and we were in no hurry to retire to our hotel. We therefore decided to have dinner at the first restaurant we came across in order to make the most of that beautiful day.
Much to our surprise, as we entered this small country restaurant, we came face to face with Peter Heffering of Hanover Hill Holsteins who was finishing his meal. After the usual exchanges concerning the weather, Pete informed us that his evening was free and that he would be happy to show us his herd after our meal, should we be interested. Of course we accepted as it was always a pleasure to visit Hanover Hill and to appreciate its superb collection of cows.”
Visit of the Hanover Hill Herd
“One of the first cows we saw as we entered the barn was A Anacres Astronaut Ivanhoe, a tall cow with impressive production records. She had just calved two weeks before and seemed in great shape. On April 26, 1979 she had given birth to a son by Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation. In response to our question, Pete told us he had no commitment on the calf and that he was available for sale. He showed the calf to us at once since he was in a pen located just in front of his dam. Harley and I shared the same reaction - we felt that the calf had exceptional stature.
The situation was the following: we had in front of us a young sire who had captured our interest on the spot, we liked his dam and the asking price was fair. The problem was that he was a Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation son and we had already decided that we had enough sons from this sire in our proving program and that we should be diversifying. In fact, our first Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation sons were born in 1973 and some of them were already proven at the time we saw the young Starbuck.”
Food for Thought
“After an extensive visit of the herd and after discussing the possibility of a couple of selective matings with other cows, we agreed with Pete that we would give him an answer in a few days concerning the bull. However, we explained that our problem was to decide whether or not our organization wished to test another Elevation son.”
The Purchase of Starbuck
“A letter dated May 16, 1979 was sent to Peter Heffering confirming our intention to buy the young son of A Anacres Astronaut Ivanhoe by Elevation with, of course, a clause stating that he had to successfully undergo our inspection in the fall. A note dated May 28th and signed by Pete confirmed the acceptance by Hanover Hill of our proposal. There is no need for me to stress the fact that Starbuck did not have any difficulty passing our inspection on November 15, 1979 when we returned to see him. He was still exceptional staturewise and he was already showing lots of style and angularity while at the same time showing excellent bone quality.
At CIAQ we are, of course, very proud to have had Starbuck in our stables. However, when I ponder on the story of his purchase, I must remain very humble and remember that nothing had been planned from our part. We were simply in the right place at the right time.
We are therefore most grateful to Peter Heffering, this “great artist of Holstein breeding”. He is the one who planned the mating which resulted in an exceptional sire who has already made an historical impact on CIAQ and on Holstein breeding all over the world.”
(1) Robert Chicoine and Harley Nicholson where at that time responsible for sire procurement at CIAQ.