Out of the shadow of mystery a tale of V Bar V

Image may contain: sky and outdoor
Vee Bar Vee artifacts relocated to Countess, AB

It was 1957, when a young man named Jim and 3 friends were searching for work, and had bused down from Edmonton to Calgary. In 1957, Jim had just fled the revolution in Hungary the year before and come to Canada at just 20 years old.

Luck struck on April 15, 29157 their first day at the unemployment office, when a gent named Mr. Curb came looking for 2 helpers, one of the 4 replied all of them or none as they wanted to stay together, to which this man took them up on the offer of the 4 workers. Mr. Curb, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints (Mormon colloquially) was one of 3 millionaires that own Vee Bar Vee Ranch. Jim would spend 6 months working the ranch. Mr. Curb on the way in would radio ahead to have chicken prepared for the new workers, which filled their bellies now that work had filled their hope. It is also noted the workers would get to know Mr. Curb’s son, Lloyd.

Within  a few months of Jim starting his work, the millionaires would sell the 78,000 acre ranch. The 78,000 acres was split in half-half ranch, half farm land for wheat, barley, and corn. The new buyers were Hutterites who would come to see how to run the operation, learning the big diesel combines which Jim describes as massive closed cabin tractors with wheels larger than a man. Most notably draft dodgers from the USA would be hired on to run the combines, and the Hutterites took time to explain the farming practice where the outer ring of wheat would form a protective crust for the interior grows from wind and rain. Jim most notably remembers the kindness and generosity of the Hutterites in running the operation.

Thank you to Andrea Szakos for sharing her Dad, Jim’s memories with us (and hope for many more to be shared), and for the following update:

Medicine Hat News Newspaper Archives
January 26, 1959 Page 10

V Bar V Ranch Sold The sale of one of Alberta’s largest cattle ranches has been reported in Calgary. The ranch is the V Bar V holdings at Ward-low, north of Medicine Hat. Although the transaction has not been confirmed it is understood the ranch was sold to Los Angeles interests for a reported $1,400,000 by Cliff Walker and his partner Sam Hanen, both of Calgary. Hr. Hanen is the owner of the Betty Shoppe’s in Alberta. The V Bar V is one of the largest of the early ranches in southeast Alberta and figured prominently in the news two years ago, when its sale to Alberta Hutterites was forbidden by the provincial government.


As always we are open to sharing your memories, stories and photos about Alberta. Please reach out via our contact page.


Vee Bar Vee Ranch Mystery

ranchThe Vee Bar Vee Ranch is part of the history we have discovered, maybe not formally associated with Countess, Alberta it is apart of the lost history of the prairies. I note lost history as when digging for more information things from a similarly named outfit in Arizona come up.
Anecdotally we have heard it was a large ranching outfit that stretched across Alberta and British Columbia. Also with searching, discovered a short note that when the North West Mounted Police first came west to eliminate the Whiskey Traders, the ranch was used as barracks.
Does anyone have any information available to share about this prairie ranch?
Thank you.