TORONTO — When it comes to Seymour Hurry, while his mode of transportation for getting to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has changed, his love of the national event has not.
Hurry made his first journey to the Royal 60 years ago in 1952 and his mode of transportation was a railway box car along with several of his father's prize Dual Purpose Shorthorn cattle.
Turn the calendar over six decades and his trip to the big fair is much quicker and more comfortable. This year, he and his wife, Janet, were at the fair watch the beef cattle shows and see the many other things that make The Royal the once-a-year experience that it has become.
Hurry has had his share of times parading cattle through the show ring in Toronto. These days, however, he is content to sit and watch other people carry on the tradition of exhibiting at the world-famous fair.
While the numerous breeds of beef cattle shown at The Royal are worth seeing, Hurry continues to have a special interest in his beloved Beef Shorthorns.
Although his name does not appear in the show catalogue at the fair this year, Hurry has two animals tied in the barns. Being exhibited from his Evergreen Farm in Milton Station are two of his prize heifers. They are being shown in the National Junior Beef Heifer Show by two capable 4-H members.
Of particular pride to Seymour and Janet is the fact that one of the animals is being shown by their granddaughter, Courtney Hogan. Hogan makes it three generations of the Hurry clan to have shown at The Royal.
The first of the Hurry family to exhibit in Toronto was Seymour's father, the late Stanley Hurry. The senior Hurry was a noted breeder and exhibitor of Dual Purpose Shorthorns for many years.
Seymour says his father made many trips to The Royal, often along with other Dual Purpose Shorthorn breeders from the Island at the time such as Keith Barrett and Dan Jewell.
In the early days of the Hurry family showing at The Royal, it was not uncommon to take a dozen or more animals on the big journey. Getting ready for the trip was a chore in itself as supplies needed to be made ready for the train trip which could take as long as six days to make.
In addition, as Hurry noted, the milk cows had to milked along the way the same as if they were at home. Hurry recalled making the trip to Toronto by himself when he was a young lad with 18 of his father's cattle to look after and show. Included in the group of cattle at that time would always be at least one bull, maybe more. Dairy bulls are no longer shown at The Royal.
Hurry remembers his father was always looking for something different to have around the farm.
“You never knew what was coming home on the train (from a show),” he said, adding, “That is how the peacocks ended up there.”
Never wanting to make a career of milking cows, Seymour set his sights on raising Beef Shorthorns. When he took over operation of the family farm in the late 1970s, Hurry used breeding stock from his father's prominent Dual Purpose Shorthorn herd and brought in foundation Beef Shorthorn bulls from known established breeders to build his herd.
Hurry recalled that one of his first herd bulls was purchased from the Bennett family of Georgetown, Ont. At the time, the Bennett name was known all over the land for having some fo the best Shorthorn cattle to be found.
Since that time, Hurry has continued to build the quality of his cattle. This dedication to the breed has earned Seymour and Janet Hurry a major award from the Canadian Shorthorn Association. They were named Builders of the Breed earlier this year.
The Hurrys have travelled many miles over the years showing their prize cattle and visiting other cattle shows. Hurry has shown at many of the shows in the Maritimes, in addition to having exhibited numerous times at The Royal.
Seymour says the fair has changed significantly since his first trip over a half-century ago. One of the biggest changes he has seen is the explosion of commercial booths which now occupy a large area in the National Trade Center.
In a year in which The Royal is celebrating the milestone anniversary of 90 years since the first show in 1922, Seymour Hurry can sit back, enjoy watching the cattle parade in and out of the ring, and be proud of the fact the he and his family have been a part of the tradition which is the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Trevor MacDonald of Murray River is a long-time Royal watcher and participant. He is providing stories on P.E.I.’s participation at this year’s fair.