The first Canadian to be named “World Wheat King” at a World’s Fair was John Brick, the minister/farmer from Dunvegan who took his Red Fife to Chicago in 1892.
The Peace Country was then famous for wheat, so it wasn’t a surprise when a farmer from Wembley began to make waves world wide with his wheat and oats, beginning in 1923.
Herman Trelle and his wife, Beatrice Irene Burdick, hand picked their hybrid seeds, then Herman would present them to the public with his own particular flair. In total, Trelle won 135 international awards for his Peace Country grains, including five World Wheat King crowns. In 1932 he was barred from showing at the Hay and Grain Show for four years because he had won so many times, including a double win for both wheat and oats in 1926. Ten years later, he had that double crown once again.
He was brilliant and very successful; even through the Great Depression, Trelle did not suffer along with his neighbours. He was a man with no reputation for being fair or humble. His crops (wheat, oats, peas, rye, flax and timothy) were superior and so was he.
Possibly, Trelle’s personality contributed something to his end. In 1945, the former champion was shot dead in an olive grove in California, killed by a farm hand he had demoted. You can find the story, as much as is known, by following this link. You’ll also find a picture of Trelle with a prize-winning crop, and more information about his other endeavors.
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