|Alberta Angus Association Hall of Fame Induction “Contemporary Breeder”
Northline Angus – Howard & Wendy Schneider
David, Jamie-Rae, Justine, Daniel & Jade-Ann
Presenter Rob Smith with Howard & Wendy Schneider, Northline Angus
If you were making the Alberta Summer Show circuit in the late 1970’s and
were told that the hard working young man from Bruderheim showing
Hereford cattle for his folks and one of that trio of famous red heads from
Bashaw would end up together… for life… most everyone would have
laughed in your face. Had you been told that they would someday be so
influential as the patriarch and matriarch of a family that is one of the most
important in Canada’s Angus scene… well, I am sure that no one could
have possibly imagined.
And yet, thirty years later, here we are; celebrating the induction of
Northline Angus, Howard, Wendy, David, Jamie-Rae, Justine, Daniel and
Jade-Ann Schneider, into the Alberta Angus Association Hall of Fame. A
more worthy honouree I cannot imagine.
Northline uses the words “sound / functional / proven” to describe their
progressive seedstock operation. I think it is fair to say those same words
describe the entire family and their steadfast commitment to everything
they do, all family endeavors, from breeding cattle to volunteering, artistic
adventures, and yes… even socializing! Sound – Functional – Proven.
These words can certainly be used to describe their contribution to the
development of the Angus breed in Alberta.
Northline is a family-owned and operated Black and Red Angus seedstock
business and livelihood. Howard and Wendy have each been involved in
seedstock production for over 40 years, and they are now in their 26th year
as Angus breeders, producing pretty much equal numbers of Red and
Let’s take a look at this family’s history… and the journey they have taken
all the way to the Alberta Angus Hall of Fame.
Howard was born into a purebred-oriented family, Bar V Herefords, with
parents Vic and Bernice Schneider as well as his little brother Doug at their
home place near Bruderheim. Howard grew up with cattle, and took an
interest very young to the matching and stacking of bloodlines as well as
the competition and socializing that comes with the show ring. Through the
late 1960’s and 1970’s, Howard started hiring on with crews that took cattle
to Toronto to the famed Royal Agriculture Winter Fair as well as to the
National Western Stock Show in Denver. In a few short years, he would be
leading these crews as a custom fitter and show cattle manager. He was
honing his skills by working on other people’s cattle, seeing what they were
doing, how they were breeding, what their outcomes were. Howard was
Meanwhile, down the highway a few miles, a passionate red head from
Bashaw was burning up the discos with her attire and attitude. Her family
had become involved in the purebred seedstock industry as well, building
one of the most renowned young Angus herds in the nation through the
1960’s and 70’s. Although not as keenly committed to the genetic
advancement as, say, her younger sister, and really more of a Disco Diva
than a cattleman, Wendy delighted in the people and the aura of cow
shows. It was inevitable that these two would cross paths.
And so it went… at the Vegreville Fair in the summer of 1978, where
Wendy’s father Jim was judging, Howard was showing Herefords, and the
legendary Miller girls had gone to party, that this fateful meeting would
happen. Dawn told Wendy about this cool Hereford dude from Edmonton,
and Wendy was intrigued. Under Jim’s evaluation, Howard’s Hereford
string had a very good day, and it’s safe to say that Howard was taking the
celebration that night to unprecedented levels. His celebrating had just
about hit the wall, however, when Wendy made his acquaintance.
Although intrigued, she was not sold. Two months later, however, at the
PNE on the west coast, they got together. And if you’ve ever watched
Howard and Wendy Schneider in public, their affection is as evident today
as it was thirty years ago.
And so, three years later, in 1981, they were married. Wendy got herself a
hard-working husband, and Howard got a fiery red head! Also, Jim and
Pam Miller made sure Wendy arrived at Howard’s door with a dowry: one
single bred Black Angus cow named Java Georgina 29K, bred by Java
Cattle Co. Ltd. She was sired by Loma Lanes Baros 26H, out of a
Rivercrest cow and bred to Glacier View Absolute 0477. Her very first calf
was a heifer, WLM Georgina 15N who sold in Lloyd Pickard’s Cross
Country sale in 1982 for $5000 to Ebon Hill… and Alberta’s newest Angus
breeder was ready to run full force! Up to this point, Howard had been
living off of his contract work on the show road as well as his thirty-five
head of Hereford cows. But Wendy’s Angus female produced progeny that
out-weaned, out-weighed and out-sold the Hereford calves; Howard was
hooked and a couple more cows were purchased Miller Angus Farm.
Wendy came with tattoo letters: WMA, the same letters Northline uses
today. But they didn’t have a prefix or a name, and it took awhile to come
up with Northline. Wendy, ever the original thinker, thought of Black Star,
or Aura-Boreal, or even How-Dy Angus. But given the fact Wendy was now
living north of her folks place, and there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of
Angus breeders in the local area, she considered them kind of the northern
division of Angus… hence, Northline. A legendary name was given and a
brand formed. 1984 marked this first calf crop from Howard and Wendy
bearing the prefix “Northline”. There were four of them. Today, there are
literally thousands of WMA-registered cattle in the Canadian Angus
Association Herd Book.
In 1984, Northline branched out into Red Angus territory. With Charolais
the dominant terminal sire in the local area, Howard and Wendy thought
Red cattle would market themselves so long as the quality was maintained.
Their Black business was coming along very well, so why not try Reds?
They had their first Red Angus crop in 1985, these cattle wearing the Bar-V
prefix of Howard’s folks, a practice which took place for a few years, from a
package of Red females purchased from Maybridge. As an aside, I am
very proud to stand before you tonight and tell you that one of our two
primary Red Angus cow families at home is “May”, which goes back to one
of these original Northline purchases: Red Maybridge Royal Witzel 14S.
Her first heifer calf was 14X who was my inaugural Red Angus purchase as
an eight-year-old cow in 1996. She produced until she was 14 and my
Mom would still call her the best purchase we ever made!
Appropriately, the first show that Northline entered was the World Angus
Forum in Edmonton in July, 1985. One year later, they started showing
Red Angus at the Stockade Round-Up in Lloydminster.
As the herd of Black Angus crew, so did the family. David, the eldest, in
1982, followed by Jamie in 1983, Justine in 1985, Daniel in 1987 (can you
imagine four children all under school age?!?!?!) and the latecomer, Jade
Ann in 1990. Each one of these cow show veterans showed their first calf
at the age of three except for Jade-Ann who was two.
The late 1980’s and early 1990’s would bring notoriety to Northline as one
of the nation’s up-and-coming Angus outfits with champion banners and top
sellers. In 1990, Northline exported a Red Angus bull to Godfrey Thomas
in England which, think about this, a Red Angus bull to England, was a
pretty big deal. They also established a strong market for black bulls in the
United States that would last until 2003 and they are starting to get back
again now. A couple of outstanding animals were sent to Argentina and
our own Colton Hamilton will tell you descendents of these seedstock
pillars still shine in the Argentinian Herd Book.
Names of Northline animals began to rise to the top of bulls and females
that were in demand across the nation. Red Bar-V Designer 261Z (which
was a foundation bull in the Soderglen Red Angus program), Early Sunset
Extra 116Z, WK Limmerick, Red Northline Kodiak 8B, Red Northline Sabre
240E and KWS Miss Patriot 212J became sought after as among the best
the Black and Red breed had to offer. One of Patriot 16’s most famous
offspring, Red Flying K Patriot 11C, would solidify Northline as a Red
Angus operation to be reckoned with as the most dominant show bull in
Canada in 1994 and 1995.
Very few operations are fortunate to produce one bull that is well known. At
Northline, it almost seems like it’s at least one per year and sometimes
even more. How many of you recognize these names: Red Northline Rev
341R, the Reserve Grand Champion at Agribition last fall, or Northline
Riptide 130N, one of the most successful show bulls in 2005, Red Northline
Crush 59R, Red Northline Robson 116P, and how about this one: Red
Northline Rob Roy 122K. They are not afraid to go out and find the best as
well, or an outcross pedigree, to add value to their operation, and that’s
where you find prefixes in their Herd Sire battery like Piepers, Gumbo
Gulch, South View and, of course, their longest standing collaborators,
DMM – the Miller Wilson brand.
There is no other operation in Canada, with the possible exception of Brylor
Ranch, Hamilton Farms and Miller Wilson, who challenges, each and every
year, in a very serious fashion, for the Canadian Gold Show Bull and
Female of the Year Award. I cannot remember time in recent memory
when Northline hasn’t had at least one animal in the Final Top Five, and
quite often more than that, almost always with at least one bull and a
female. Their commitment to the propagation of public awareness of
Angus cattle through the show ring and exhibitions is second to none in our
province, and maybe even our nation. From northern BC to every show in
Alberta and many in Saskatchewan, there are few breeders who
consistently work that hard and spend that much money. They do it
because it is part of their family fabric; they bond and enjoy one another
immensely at the shows. While many families and yelling at each other
about who is doing more work and where to put the fans, the Schneider
crew runs like a finely tuned engine: each knowing their role and performing
it with passion and a love of fun.
Among the most notable recent milestones for Northline was last year in
the RBC Beef Supreme Championship, kind of our Canadian National
Finals for show cattle, the final event annually at Agribition. When the Top
Ten Bulls and Females were declared, Northline qualified with two shots
since Rev made the Top Ten bulls and Northline Saving Grace 76L was a
Top Ten Female.
There have been many prideful moments for the Schneider crew through
their history with the Angus breed, but few exceeded that moment when
Ravishing Reds-owned Roy Rodgers, a Rob Roy son, was declared
National Grand Champion Red Angus Bull at the National Western Stock
Show in Denver last January. This was the second year in a row a Rob
Roy son was declared National Champion. Of course, Rob Roy had no
choice but to become American on that fateful day in May, 2003, but has
cut a wide swath through American Red Angus herds ever since. While our
friends to the south are humming along with the Mulberry tune now, the
most famous Canadian bull in the past ten years in the U.S. is most
certainly Red Northline Rob Roy 122K.
Northline has won as many Premier Breeder, Premier Exhibitor and
Breeder’s Herd awards as anyone you can think of. Some of us are just
thrilled to have our names on the ‘leader boards’; Northline routinely sits
atop these Boards. Now, there are certainly the ‘usual suspects’ who are
right there along with our Hall of Famers, but there is one very significant
difference; there is no one in Canada right now who dominate in the show
ring, winning Premier Breeder, Premier Exhibitor and Breeders Herd, in
BOTH Red and Black Angus, in the manner that Northline does. In that
arena, folks, Northline is truly in a ‘league of their own’.
From a marketing perspective, Northline was involved for many years in the
Schneider family sales series, then created a bull and female sale that ran
at Northlands Park in Edmonton in conjunction with the Farm Show in the
spring. Most sales now are done by private treaty, but you will see the
occasional Northline animal popping up at events like Red Round-Up or
Masterpiece, always selling for top dollar… because they are always top
The entire family, however, allows that the single greatest factor in their
Angus lives has been the Alberta Junior Angus Show held for so many
years, in Wendy’s hometown of Bashaw, and for the past few in Olds, as
well as all the other Junior shows and activities. To the Schneiders, these
shows are more important than vacations. Friendships and business
relationships have been forged that will last forever. All the Schneider kids
says the opportunities that have arisen as a result of their Junior Angus
involvement have had a profound impact on their lives and they couldn’t
imagine what it would be like to have not had Junior Angus as part of their
growth and development. While the competition is important, the
Schneider’s say that “friendship is the best”. I’m not sure that’s exactly
what David thought when he and his cousin Sarah, as the very first Pee
Wees to compete in Show Ring Judging at the Junior All Breeds show.
David was the Judge and Sarah the Ringman, and, as sometimes has
happened in this world, she didn’t agree with his placings so wouldn’t bring
them in in David’s order. So she started pulling them in in her order, which
David didn’t appreciate. Imagine two cousins, the girl bigger than the boy,
slapping him silly in the middle of Show Team Judging. Welcome to the
Wendy believes it was assisting with the Alberta Junior Angus show that
evolved her family into the committed volunteers they are today. Between
4-H, the Strathcona Country Classic and Edmonton Northlands, Wendy,
which means the entire family, have been involved with volunteerism for
15+ years. Wendy’s primary attentions now are on the exciting Green
Hectares project, and she will be more than thrilled to tell you about it if you
don’t already know! Wendy was also on the very first Sweepstakes
Committee, the event that helped to bring Angus to the forefront of the
show business aspect of the cow world. Howard also served on the Alberta
Angus Association Board of Directors in the early and mid-1990’s and
David was the first President of FABB, the organization behind the “Rock
The Farm” conference that takes place every winter in Red Deer. In fact,
every Schneider kid served as President of their 4-H club with the
exception of Justine… who was probably way too busy giving away free
hair cuts to all her expansive family members.
And the firsts have piled up for the Schneider family as the next generation
grew up. Jamie-Rae was the first recipient of the National Young
Cattleman Award as a Junior in 1995 and the youngest person to that time
to judge the Legends of the Fall in Edmonton in 1999. David was also
named National Young Cattleman of the Year in 2003, dedicating his award
that year to great still-missed friend Jaron Arntzen.
Art runs deep in this family. They not only make breeding outstanding
Angus cattle an art, but other aspects of their lives as well. Jamie is a
graphic designer, Justine a hair stylist and Daniel a burgeoning sketch
artist. To see his work is to see something incredible; almost otherworldly.
Check out his interpretation of that first class of beef cattle to ever show at
Spruce Meadows; he is amazing. And Dave… well there was certainly art
in the raising of Jane UIS, the only Scotch Highland to ever make the
summer Junior Show circuit in Alberta… year after year after year!
When we talk about influences, Howard and Wendy certainly have respect
and thanks to Wendy’s parents, our Honourary Alberta Angus Association
Presidents for 2008, Jim and Pam Miller. And, of course, the opportunity to
work with family and have them become your best friends, like Lee and
Dawn Wilson, has made the ride much more enjoyable for the Schneider’s.
There is only one time the family recalls being stalled apart from the Miller
Wilson crew, and the Schneider kids say it sucked big time!
With all of their children now adults, the family is growing. Two years ago,
Jamie-Rae married Kayne Pittman and five weeks ago they welcomed
Trigg Davis into this world. Beyond a shadow of doubt, he is now the
favoured male red head in the family; sorry Ty! Last year, during the
Autumn Angus Legacy Weekend, Justine got married to Tom Fowler and
on September 4th she gave birth to Indy Rose. Howard and Wendy, long
the coolest parents in the community, are now the rockin’-est grandparents.
And neither could be prouder or happier.
I think the reason why the Schneiders have been so successful is that they
truly bring passion to everything they do. To volunteering, breeding cattle,
working, creating art or raising a family, everything they do, they do with
gusto. With passion. And let me tell you… I make a lot of time for people
who bring passionate enthusiasm into all aspects of their lives.
When I asked the family to define for me what it means to be a Hall of
Famer, they were all a little stunned. Howard says that he never expected
this kind of recognition. David knows why this has happened, however.
After having made the trek to Farm Fair each and every year since 1973,
the dreaded “Black Sled”, their stock trailer, was finally decommissioned
this year and put out to pasture. The only feat that could match the
magnitude of this retirement would be to become a member of Alberta’s
Angus Hall of Fame.
Of course, David was joking, like all of the family does, all of the time. They
are happy people who love what they do. They love our industry almost as
much as they love each other. I don’t know if it’s a reasonable comparison
to liken the Northline Schneider crew to the Waltons, but can’t you just
imagine everyone saying goodnight to one another, crammed into one hotel
room, at some cattle show or Junior event down some road somewhere.
Goodnight Howard. Goodnight Wendy. I’m sure Jamie-Rae would always
have the final word. Unless Jade-Ann squeezed one final ‘good night’ in.
The key to Northline’s success is a big family that finishes one another’s
sentences without fear of recrimination and receives only praise. The
secret to this family working and playing so well together, needing and
wanting one another more than anyone else in the world? Wendy says,“There is no real hierarchy; there is no final say until everything is out there
and everyone has weighed in on the decision”. Danny’s most proud
moment leading up to becoming an Angus Hall of Famer? All five
Schneider kids working together as individuals at Agribition in 2006, serving
a common purpose: to make Northline Angus one of Canada’s premier
There is no doubt… they have succeeded. Let’s watch a montage now of
And here they are: the first in-law, Kayne Pittman along with first grandson
Trigg, second son in-law Tom Fowler with first granddaughter Indy Rose,
along with Kayne’s wife Jamie-Rae and Tom’s wife Justine, the youngest
Schneider girl, Jade-Ann, and the youngest son, Daniel, the eldest child,
David, and the elder statesmen of this newly inducted Hall of Fame
Contemporary Breeder, Howard and Wendy Schneider. Ladies and
Gentleman, our final inductee of 2009 into the Alberta Angus Association
President Rob Smith