NILE celebrates 46th Stock Show & Rodeo
The 46th NILE Stock Show and Rodeo is the region’s largest livestock event, showcasing multiple cattle breed shows and sales, horse sales and futurities, and rodeo with the Ranch Rodeo Finals and ProRodeo. This year the NILE will take place at MetraPark in Billings, Mont., Wednesday, Oct. 15 through Saturday, Oct. 19. While this year offers many of the same events and activities that people have enjoyed, there are also many new and exciting elements as well to celebrate the 46-year history.
It was the fall of 1968 when the founders of the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) held the first stock show. That year it was at the Public Auction Yards in Billings. However, it was not an event that was just pushed together in the few months prior. In fact, the concept of a region or national livestock show came from a committee of leading agriculture businessmen and area ranchers over a year earlier in 1967. Now in 2013, the Northern International Livestock Exposition will celebrate 46 years of upholding the mission of what the original founders believed was important – to promote our region’s livestock industry.
Throughout the years of the NILE, there have been as many good times as there have been turbulent times. Fortunately, the commitment and desire by NILE directors, members, staff and sponsors have tipped the scales of existence in a positive direction. Which is why this year the NILE is excited about this year’s event and some of the new things that are available for people to enjoy.
“It’s going to be a great show,” says Justin Mills, NILE General Manager. “We expect around 35,000 visitors to attend the NILE over the four days. With some of the things we’ve added, it will really create an event that has something for people of all ages.”
The foundational element of the NILE each year is the Stock Show. This year the NILE Stock Show will host over 20 livestock shows and sales in the short five-day window. “We added a day to this year’s show due to the increase in entries from last year,” says Mills. Eleven cattle breed shows will be encompassed in this year’s schedule: Shorthorn, Hereford, Red Angus, Galloway, Angus, Texas Longhorn, Gelbvieh, Balancer, Miniature Hereford, Dexter, and an All Other Breeds Show. In addition, there will be a Jr. Fed Show held on Wednesday, Oct 16 that will include a Swine Show, Steer Show and a Lamb Show.
Meanwhile, the Merit Heifer Show, which will be held on Friday, October 18 at 1 p.m., is arguably the most attended show all week. It is the culminating event for 25 young aspiring livestock producers that were awarded a free heifer one year earlier from donor ranches. A Jackpot Show as well as a Showmanship Contest is held in conjunction with the show and then one individual is selected as the Top Herdsman based upon their monthly reports, interview, and showmanship skills.
One show that was not in existence in the very first NILE but has become extremely popular is the NILE Club Calf Show and Sale. This show features both steer and heifer calves that are shown and sold to 4-H or FFA members for their project through the next year. This year along with the Jr. Fed Sale of Champions, that will be held at 5 p.m. in the Pine Coulee Bull Sale Arena in the Expo Center, there are four other cattle sales. The Club Calf Sale will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17 with all sale animals eligible for futurities that award over $4,000 each year. Next will be two sales on Friday, Oct. 18. The NILE’s prestigious Red Angus Sale will be at 2 p.m. while the NILE Gelbvieh Sale will be at 5 p.m. Then the week will conclude with the NILE Angus Female Sale at noon. All sales at the NILE will be webcasted by CattleInMotion.com, offering live viewing and bidding.
Finally, the week of cattle events will conclude with an exciting and new addition of the NILE Supreme Row Show presented by Little Horn State Bank. The Supreme Row Show will feature all of the Grand Champion Bulls and Females of each show in one show for each respective gender. The show will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. in the Ford EcoBoost Arena. However, the final selection of the 2013 Supreme Bull and Female will not take place until Saturday night during the NILE ProRodeo. Each winner will receive a $1,000 and a spectacular Bronze Boot Trophy. F