88th Annual Montana Ram Sale
September 20, 2013
Date: Sept. 12, 2013
Location: Eastern Montana Fairgrounds, Miles City, Mont.
Auctioneers: Rob Fraser and Collin Gibbs
Reported by Montana Wool Growers
284 head of range rams: $793.84
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(doesn't include stud or test rams)
Top seller: $3,400
Wool growers from across the Western U.S. and Canada made their way to the 88th Annual Montana Ram Sale Sept. 12, 2013 at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. Sponsored by the Montana Wool Growers Association, the sale has become a natural gathering place for sheepmen looking for quality bucks with exceptional data and records. Montana State University sponsored a producer forum on Wednesday afternoon in the 4-H Building. Growers learned about the ethnic market calendar from MSU Alum Kathy Soder of K Bar K Farm in Pennsylvania and received a market update from Ron Cole of Colorado. The evening entertainment featured a Roast and Toast for a man who has helped guide and shape not only this sale, but the Montana sheep industry as well. Dr. Rodney Kott will retire Oct. 31 after serving 33 years as the MSU State Sheep Extension Specialist. Miss Haylie Shipp of the Northern Ag Network presided as Master of Ceremonies on Wednesday night as 225 growers celebrated Dr. Kott. When asked by Haylie about the secret to his success, Dr. Kott stated "I always thought from the beginning that I was working for the producers of this state and not the University." Spectators were treated to a short skit based on a Dickens classic where Dr. Kott was visited by the Ghost of Roast and Toast Past (Dr. Verl Thomas played by Mike Schuldt), Present (Tex A. Anem-Texas Re-naturalization Officer played by Brent Roeder) and Future (Nurse Killenyouslow played by Kacie Killen). There were many tales told through the night and the enjoyable evening was capped with the presentation of an engraved shotgun from the past presidents and current board of the Montana Wool Growers. A big thank you to Mike and Cheryl Schuldt and all the local businesses who contributed to make the evening a special event for Dr. Kott.
On Thursday, about 200 ram sale buyers and townspeople were treated to an excellent lamb BBQ lunch prepared by Red Neck Grill and the Miles City Chamber. The sale kicked off at noon sharp with local auctioneer Rob Fraser calling the bids and keeping the sale moving. This year one would have seen buyers from Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Saskatchewan and even some on the internet link provided by John Morford of Frontier Stockyards. Collin Gibbs took the chair later in the sale, while ring men Andy Wemmer and Zane Kettleman kept a sharp eye out for bids. The fast paced sale moved 291 rams from 23 consignors in three and one half hours. Three lots sold for over $3,000, but Sam Ortmann of Wolf Point topped the sale with a Targhee ram that went to Jon Beastrom of Pierre, S..D, for $3,400. The range ram average for the sale, which doesn't include stud, test or no sale rams, was $793.84 on 284 head. Although this is down from the previous two exceptionally high years, both buyers and consignors seemed happy with this year's sale. Buyers were especially willing to pay top dollar for fine wooled rams with larger rib eyes and good production numbers. The Montana Wool Growers would like to thank Stockman Bank (Jim Hill, Kent Williams, and Geneal Bott), Farm Credit Services (Kristie Weischadle and Garryn Tvedt), Miles City FFA, Miles City Brand Inspectors, Eastern Montana Fairgrounds (Chet Holmes), Miles City Chamber and Red Neck Grill, MSU Extension (Dr. Rodney Kott, Dr. Lisa Surber, Mike Schuldt, Eric Miller, Elin Westover, Rose Malisani, and Chrissy Cook), and most of all Mick Wiest and Joe Brady. Hopefully next year's sale will find us again slogging through the mud in Miles City. If you missed seeing an old friend in Miles City, be sure to look them up at the 130th Annual Montana Wool Growers Convention in Billings, Dec. 6 – 7. F