Vold Jones Vold History
Vold, Jones & Vold - 'A Look Back In Time'
(parts taken from Darrell Stonehouse of Alberta Beef)
The Vold Brothers (early 1900's)
The year was 1896. The great prairie land rush was in its early beginnings. Only around 2,000 people a year in the previous five years had taken the federal government's bait and traveled west to take advantage of its offer of free land. This was the Alberta Andrew Vold and his family left their home near Oaks, North Dakota to settle in during 1896. The Vold's chose to homestead on a piece of ground around 15 miles east of Ponoka.
"My grandfather set himself up in the cattle and horse business." recalls Ralph Vold. "He was also an auctioneer. He held sales on the farms in the in the surrounding area. He got killed in 1903. He was cutting logs to build a house and a branch broke and hit him in the head. He died before they could reach the hospital in Lacombe. "
While Andrew only lived on the Canadian prairies for seven years, he began what has become a family tradition of selling cattle in Alberta. Over 100 years and four generations later, the Vold's are still at it, marketing livestock raised in the province as well as across North America. Along the way they've grown and changed as the province's beef industry has matured. Today, Vold, Jones & Vold Auction Co. at Ponoka is one of the premiere markets in the country, selling live cattle in three rings simultaneously every Wednesday and moving thousands of head more through the Canadian Satellite Livestock Auction they co-founded with the Fort Macleod-Highwood Auction Co. and Schetzsle Livestock at Veteran. Getting to where they are today has been quite a trip.
"When my grandfather died my dad Nansen, became head of the household," says Ralph. "He was 14 years - old and there were eight kids." Aside from his duties of running the family's horse and cattle business, Nansen followed his fathers footsteps as an auctioneer, again holding sales in the countryside. Like Andrew, Nansen was a self-taught auctioneer without any formal training.
Nansen and is wife Kirsten had four boys over the years - Norman, Cliff, Ralph and Harry. All were raised on the ranch east of Ponoka. When they came of age, both Norman and Cliff chose to go into the ranching business. Ralph Vold chose to pursue athletics, first playing hockey and then playing baseball in the USA. It was left to Harry to carry on the family tradition of auctioneering.
In 1957 Ralph was playing baseball at Arizona in the Pacific Coast League when he received a phone call from his brother Harry that marked the beginnings of the modern era in cattle marketing for the Volds. "I was 27-years-old and didn't think I could make the major leagues," says Ralph. "Harry was an auctioneer at the Calgary Stockyards. He called me and wanted to know if I was interested in partnering in this market. I said I'm about done with ball and came back." At the time there was a market that had been up and running in Ponoka for about a year that was owned by a partnership of Henry Channon, Charles Palechek and Gordon Stretch.
The Original Market
Local banks wouldn't support the purchase so Ralph and Harry had to get the money privately. They partnered up with Bill and Shorty Jones - their job was to run the office.
Early years of the market were tough slugging. The first sale they sold only 17 cows and four pens of hogs.
"The local market was a tough sell," comments Ralph." We had to pound the country. After three years I talked them into buying an airplane so we could get to more places. That really helped. The biggest thing however was getting buyers to come out here. We hustled and got a lot of good orders in Ontario and the US that proved to be as strong as Edmonton and Calgary."
The late 1950s and 1960s were a time of major change in Alberta's Cattle business. The arrival of cattle liners lessened the industry's reliance on the railway for transportation.
"In the 10 years Harry was here the market really started to take off, "recalls Ralph. "He moved to Colorado in 1967 to be in the rodeo business and I bought his shares out. Things just kept going from there."
In 1970, 16 year old Blair Vold joined his father Ralph and the Jones brothers at the market, cleaning pens and learning the ropes on sale days. At age 17, he got his pilots license and like Ralph covered the country side servicing customers and drumming up new business. Over the years he's assumed the management role as the generation ahead of him has retired. Bill sold out 20 years ago and Blair bought Shorty out 10 years ago. Just as the first generation retires the third generation - Blair's children - Nansen and Labrie are learning the business as well.
As the market has gradually turned over into Blair's hands, it's modernized to keep pace with the times and to stay ahead of the growing competition. During his 33 years at the market he's seen the Alberta industry grow into the 4th largest cattle feeding area in North America. Claiming Ponoka the "Cattle Capital of Canada".
The market has responded by increasing it's holding capacity to 8,000 head and taking cattle 7 days a week. Cattle are also sold in 3 rings simultaneously every Wednesday, allowing order buyers to put together loads quickly. An in-house show list sale that run via video on the big screen, allows buyers access to loads of uniform cattle without them being run thru the ring. As well the Satellite Auction and now Internet Auctions enables buyers across North America access to Western Canada's best cattle from the comfort of their home.
The cattle market has taken it's fair share of ups and downs the last five years but history continues to make it's mark here at Vold Jones and Vold.
Stay tuned as history continues...
History Of VJV Ponoka
VJV was purchased by Ralph and Harry Vold Shorty and Bill Jones in August of 1957 after 1 year of operation
By 1970 Ralph and Blair Vold bought out Harry, Shorty and Bill
Or were sole owners of the business
June 1, 2005?? VJV opened up a division in Dawson Creek B.C
August 1 2014 Henry and Andrea Thalen purchased the business from the Vold family
Employing 12 full time staff and 50-part time staff to keep the business running smoothly
VJV has a capacity of handling 8000 head of cattle
Selling every Wednesday through 3 rings simultaneously
Offering 49 pens with feed and fresh bedding for long hauled cattle
426 holding pens for sale and sold cattle
45 foot weigh scale for quick weighing of large groups
3 liner chutes capable to hold 5 loads of cattle at 1 time
40-45 Professional order buyers supplying cattle to feedlots all across North America
Employing Canadian and World Champion auctioneers
Most state of the art software system offering added features for buyers & producer
Special sales consist of purebred sales, Bull sale, Bison sales, Chuckwagon sales, 4H sales, Charity sales & Horse sales
Selling Hay, Straw, Green feed Etc. every Wednesday at 11:00am
Conveniently located at the junction of Hwy 2A & Hwy 53
Pre weighing cattle every Tuesday 8:00am for show alley
Cattle sales every Wednesday
8:30am Ring 2 – Cows and Bulls
9:00am Ring 1 – Canadian Gold Show Alley
11:00am Ring 3 – Baby Beef and Dairy Calves
11:00am Outside – Hay, Straw, Green Feed Etc.
12:00pm – Ring 2 – Bred Cows & Cow Calf Pairs