Fires, drought couldn’t stop MT Angus Tour attendance |

Fires, drought couldn’t stop MT Angus Tour attendance

The MT Angus Tour is an excellent venue for cattle producers to meet, look at quality cattle and discuss genetics. Sean Zaske, Diamond T Bar Ranch, Leo McDonnell, McDonnell Angus, Midland Bull Test and Jason Harrison, Harrison Angus Ranch appreciated the Western MT Angus Tour. Photo by Sarah Swenson

The Montana Angus Tour was hosted this year by the Western Montana Angus Association, Missoula, MT. The 3-day event began on Wednesday (Sept. 19) with a golf scramble during the day and social gathering in the evening. The entertainment for the first evening included the MT Angus Association’s own Cara Ayers and her counter-part, Beth Schreiber, who performed original, “cattle-themed” lyrics to popular tunes. “Take Two Productions” musical comedy was a hit among attendees.

With over 250 registered, four Coach buses and an entourage of vehicles headed down the interstate for Hall, MT, for the first showing of cattle at Skinner Angus Ranch, owned and operated by Ron and Bev Skinner, and their youngest sons Tim and Kim. The Skinner family has been in the cattle business for over 50 years. In the past 13 years they have put together a reputable herd of registered Angus cattle.

Also exhibiting cattle at the Skinner Ranch was Cline Angus Cattle Company, Rick and Nancy Cline, and Wilson Scotch Mountain, Jeff and Shoni Wilson.

After breakfast at the Skinner Ranch, the tour made it’s way to Stevensville, MT, for the mid-morning stop at 3C Cattle Company and Genetic Connection. Chad and Lacey Sutherlin run both Red and Black Angus cattle. The focus of their operation is having good, sound functional cattle that will work well for both commercial and registered operations. Chad partners on some Angus cows with his grandparents, Loren and Dorothy Brubaker, of Genetic Connection. Brubaker’s run a donor facility and synchronize and breed cattle throughout the Bitterroot Valley.

Also exhibiting at 3C, was Arlin and Jennifer Fratzke of Flying AJ Ranch. Neel’s Angus, Mathew and Sara Neel.

On display at 3C was an impressive Hoover Dam son, G H Powerhouse, co-owned by LB Farms. Lance and Shelley Brown and their sons Wes and TJ. LB Farms show at the NILE every year and partner with 3C and Genetic Connection to host the Bulls of the Bitterroot sale in March.

The Gragg Ranch, leased by Ayers Angus, was the host of the lunch on Thursday. Tommy, Cara and Jonwyn Ayers have produced winners at both Treasure and Midland Bull Test, accomplishments in the Pathfinder report. Bill and Carol Gragg, managers of the Gragg Ranch, owned by Scott and Toni Gragg, recently purchased some females to learn from Tom and Cara. Ayers have also helped Melissa McFadgen, McFadgen Angus, learn how to show and raise cattle.

After lunch, attendees headed to a scenic pasture to view a select group of Mytty Angus pairs which had just come down off the mountain. Mytty Angus began by purchasing five heifers from Bob and Becky Tiedeman of the Baldridge Company in Nebraska. They have since expanded to 300 purebred, registered Angus females.

At the Marcus-Daly Historical Mansion in Hamilton, Dalbey Angus, Never Sweat Ranch, Reddin Angus, Saddle Mountain Angus and Trexler Angus cattle were all on display. John and Jessi Dalbey raised the top selling bull at the 2012 Treasure Bull Test.

Cody Lee welcomed the crowd to the Daly Mansion and talked about their family operation at the Never Sweat Ranch located at the base of Ward Mountain.

Reddin Angus, owned by Jake and Kris Reddin, raise bulls for the commercial cattleman and sell most of their bulls private treaty or through Midland Bull Test.

Cattle on display from Saddle Mountain Angus Ranch have to endure some tough conditions and long winters on the 5,000 feet elevation ranch. John and Margie Mikesell began raising purebred Angus in 2005, because of the numerous economic qualities and the research being done by the Angus Association to improve the breed. On display was a Sitz Eisa Evergreen 1468 donor cow that’s 14 years old and still producing calves and embryos.

Trexler Angus Ranch owned by Larry and Peggy Trexler bases their herd upon long-standing, strong bloodlines, with proven genetics.

Wrapping up the evening, Certified Angus Beef sponsored a delicious steak dinner at the Mytty Angus Sale Facility.

Day two of the tour kicked off with breakfast at the Jocko Valley Angus Ranch, owned by Marvin and Mary Anne Rehbein. Jocko Valley Angus is set in the beautiful Mission Mountain Range near Arlee, MT.

Wes and Carol Sue Mapston, owners of the Double Horseshoe Ranch, purchased 10 recip cows from Jocko Valley Angus in 2006. Wes had been in the cattle business nearly all his life, purchasing his first registered Angus bull in the 7th grade, with money he had earned from delivering papers. Wes also talked about winning the Montana State Star Beef Farmer in 1953. His dedication to the cattle industry and Angus breed was evident in his exhibit next to the Jocko Valley cattle.

Shawn and Jen Christensen welcomed attendees to their beautiful Springvale Ranch at Hot Springs, MT. Shawn and Jen said that with the help of AHIR, Angus Source, CAB and the type and kind of their cattle, they have the tools to market their heifer calves on Northern Livestock Video. They also sell a few bred heifers on the Sydgen Influence Commercial Bred Heifer Sale.

CS Angus, Craig and Shelby Weirather and Black Pine Farm, William and Debra Jensen hosted the lunch stop on Friday.

Tour attendees then headed to Lazy JM Ranch at St. Ignatius. Kurt McPherson is a strong believer in genetic testing for Tenderness, Beef Quality and Feed Efficiency. At the same time, he tries to intertwine these genetics with the current EPDs that work for their cattle. The process seems to be working well for Lazy JM as they were recognized by Gene-STAR/Pfizer Animal Genetics for having the top 20 percent in all three traits.

Blevins Angus Ranch, a family run operation in Charlo, MT, was exhibited alongside Lazy JM. Blevins Angus, is run by Tom Blevins and his son Wayne and family.

A strong focus on cow families could be seen in the LK Bar Angus cattle displayed by Larry and Beth Krein. As another result, they have transitioned to almost entirely registered Angus with their commercial cows mainly being used as recips.

This year’s MT Angus tour concluded at the Coleman Angus Ranch, owned by Larry and Dee Coleman. Larry stated, “We believe that the Angus breed is what it is today because of that great female and without her, we can’t move forward.”

With a total attendance estimated close to 300 people, the 2012 MT Angus Tour was considered a success and attendees traveled home with a new insight about Western Montana cattle, as well as an appreciation for the people who raise them.