Reisig family: Decades with the NILE
The Reisig family’s history with the NILE goes back almost as far as the boys can remember.
When David Reisig’s boys were young, he wanted to make it possible for them to be involved in the national event hosted within his home state of Montana.
The Lewistown, Montana, family first took the boys to the NILE rodeo when they were young. From then on, they were hooked.
“I thought it was a good experience for the boys,” he said.
Dustin recalls attending a rodeo in the early 80s. “Then, going forward, we showed steers there, we showed horses there, and continued to judge there year after year,” said Dustin, the middle of the Reisig boys.
Although the Merit Heifer show had not yet been introduced at that time, the boys had the chance to take part in something similar – a steer show with cattle donated by ranchers in the area.
One year both Dustin and his older brother Chad did well enough in the calf “scramble” (contestants had to catch and halter a calf) to win a steer to show the following year.
The livestock judging aspect is perhaps the most enjoyable event for Dustin, and one he is still active with.
Dustin judged as a high schooler, coached high school teams, and now serves as the superintendent of the livestock judging contest. Oh yeah, he’s also the president of the NILE Board of Directors.
“As a judger and a coach, the NILE was the ultimate thing in Montana. Just to be there to judge was awesome. To win the NILE was one of our biggest goals as a team and when I was coaching it was the same,” he recalls.
Dustin’s sons Jacob and Colt will both be at the NILE with Jacob planning to help keep his dad on task throughout the contest itself. Dustin’s wife Rebecca and Colt will be on hand starting Wednesday to help Dustin with all things NILE.
Chad Reisig, who took over duties as the NILE General Manager in July, shares many of his younger brother’s memories of their childhood involvement with the national livestock show.
Chad’s steer showing experience left a …mark on him. “I ended up with the meanest one I’ve ever had. I worked with him and worked with him. Even at the NILE, he pinned me between the barn and the trimming chute. When I sold him at the NILE, it was a happy day,” jokes Chad.
In all seriousness, his NILE memories shaped him into the person he is.
“In the late ‘80s, I bought my own horse with my own money. I had $200 in my pocket and I had to borrow $100 from my dad.” The weanling he bought from Pete Mitchell still holds a special place in his heart.
“I showed the horse through 4-H, ranched on him. He was a great horse,” Chad says his father bought the horse after Chad had ridden him for at least 10 years.
Just like his brother, Chad enjoyed judging livestock at the NILE.
Learning about the behind-the-scenes work of the NILE has been an exciting experience for Reisig.
“As we speak, I’m already planning for 2022,” he said. The NILE team has been working hard, adding at least 16 new sponsors this year, he said.
His favorite NILE memories include the people involved, as well as the spectators. “I love meeting new people. I try to meet at least one new person each day, if possible. I’m happy for our community and state that the NILE will be a full schedule again,” said Chad.
“Everyone is a part of the NILE. If you buy a rodeo ticket, if you come to visit as a fourth grader…it’s for everyone. I want people to think of the NILE and to realize they are a part of it,” he said.
Youngest brother Scott, along with David and Dustin, operates Reisig Cattle, an Angus operation that is also involved with the NILE. Reisig Cattle has many times showed, sold and purchased females in the Angus exhibition and sale held during the NILE. Scott’s family includes wife Emily, son Koyama, daughter Makiko, daughter Katana, son Kiyoshi, daughter Emiko, daughter Eiko.
Reisig Cattle has also donated a heifer to the Merit Heifer program many times, but was not able to donate one this year because they changed to a fall calving program.
The Resigs seem to agree that the NILE is a place to make memories and build relationships.
“I think that was probably one of the major things – that the kids were able to expand their friendship base. Other kids they met in other areas – either in the state or the region – were often kids they would run into later in life. I think the networking and connections are worth a lot,” said Dave.
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