Black Hills Angus Tour

Heather Hamilton
for Tri-State Livestock News
Jack Gully served up a chuckwagon breakfast of potatoes, scrabbled eggs, biscuits and gravy with chicken fried steak a the Millar Angus breakfast stop. Photo by Scott Dirk

Great cattle, food and people combined to make the Black Hills Angus Tour, held Sept. 24-25, a success that was enjoyed by all in attendance. Multiple area producers opened the doors of their operations, showcasing small and large herds, old and new Angus genetics, generational and relatively new breeders, and welcoming the busloads of attendees who came from far and wide to participate in the event.

“We started the tour at Grand View Angus Ranch of Rapid City, where we saw not only Grand View’s cattle, but also cattle displayed by Ravellette Cattle, noted Certified Angus Beef (CAB) beef cattle specialist Paul Dykstra. “They had some exciting sons of the Consensus 7229 bull that were, in my mind, quite intriguing. We also had a Genemax demonstration at that stop on six heifers that had samples submitted for DNA testing. The scores had been returned to Grand View, and everyone on the tour got to guess the order in which those heifers would have ranked with their final Genemax scores. It was fun, good practice, and a nice way to introduce people to the technology and let them know there is a commercial DNA test available for Angus cattle.”

McPherson Angus of Sturgis was the tour’s second stop, and Dykstra noted the operation was located in wide open, dry, range country.

“It was really fun to see their cattle, which weren’t necessarily what you would expect in that environment because they were bigger cattle. But, they were in great shape and the family has been ranching there for around 120 years, so they sure know how to handle that environment and their cattle were representative of that,” stated Dykstra.

Kammerer Livestock of Rapid City displayed a 13-year-old cow that was a key foundation part of Matt Kammerers herd at the third tour stop. Matt discussed the history of his operation and cattle, which has included a registered Angus herd for just over a decade and a production sale for the last six years at Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange.

“Brooke Hershey also displayed cattle at the Kammerer stop, and shared with us the data on his bulls that were on test at the Midland Bull Test Station, along with their differences in feed usage and Average Daily Gain. He is very interested in cow efficiency, and was fun to listen to,” noted Dykstra, adding the live music and award winning peach cobbler were also very much appreciated by tour attendees at the stop.

Day one of the tour was rounded out at Mount Rushmore Angus, located south of Rapid City, where heifers and bulls were on display. The operation will host its 47th production sale next March, and explained their goals of raising functional, maternally driven cows, and powerhouse bulls. Neighboring producer Keith Perli also displayed pairs and heifers at the stop, and listed good feet and legs, sound udders, decent dispositions and the ability to breed back every year as critical selection criteria within his herd.

Following the viewing of the cattle, a CAB sponsored meal was served, and a benefit auction sold everything from homemade quilts to Crstalyx gift certificates to semen straws and old Angus based publications.

“The hospitality has been fabulous and the cattle have been great. It’s amazing how good the cattle look for what the conditions they’re living in this year,” noted North Central South Dakota Angus producer and tour attendee Rodney Dickoff.

“You get to meet a lot of great people whose names you’ve heard of, but whom you’ve never got to visit with, and it’s been a fun trip. I would recommend it to anyone; it’s a great way to see what the business is all about,” added Rodney’s wife Linda.

All in attendance agreed that after day one, they were looking forward to the second day of the tour, which included a stop for breakfast and cattle on display at Millar Angus of Sturgis, followed by a stop at Foos Angus of Nisland, where Kindsfater Angus was also displaying cattle. Lunch on day two was to be served at Iron Mountain Cattle of Belle Fourche, where Bar 69 Angus would also have cattle to view. Things wrapped up with a final stop at High Plains Genetics in the afternoon with additional cattle on display from Jesse Lewis Angus.

“I’ve been on several, not only in South Dakota but other states as well, in the last couple weeks. I can assure you that even if you don’t know a soul, it’s worth signing up for. Ride the bus and you’ll get to know people. There are folks of all ages that attend these tours, and they’re certainly some of the nicest and most genuine people you’ll ever spend time with. It’s a nice chance to make some new friends and see how different ranches operate while looking at lots of different sets of quality Angus genetics,” stated Dykstra.

“It was really nice to have a tour in western South Dakota. I don’t know if they’ve had one focused in and around the Black Hills before or not, but it’s been very enjoyable to be a part of,” commented Perli of his experience with this year’s tour.