A Billings tradition continued on Thursday with the start of the 44th annual MATE Show at MetraPark.
The Montana Agri Trade Exposition is touted as the region's largest farm and ranch trade show.
It's a chance for farmers and ranchers to actually see the equipment in person rather than in a picture.
"In today's digital society, where you can jump online and buy a lot of things fairly quickly, you don't get the opportunity to have that tactile experience," said Jennifer Boka, MATE Show general manager. "So this allows them an opportunity to come and see all those things they may immediately shop for online, but all under one roof. Each year they bring the most exceptional newest technology."
The MATE Show has also been the place for those in agriculture to see friends.
"The camaraderie, the networking," Boka said. "Thursdays at the MATE are interesting because we see a lot of our serious production ag people come to town and have the opportunity to not only to meet with their vendors and their dealers, their representatives they're used to working with, but network with other farmers from around the area that they don't get to see on a regular basis. So you know you see the food vendor area packed with people sitting around with the opportunity to socialize that you might not get in another location."
For some, this is a good time of year to attend a trade show.
"A lot of guys are just starting their calving, " Boka said. "Our farmers have a quiet time. And as long as they're not fighting big snow drifts or bad weather back at home, it's a great time to come to town."
The MATE Show is in the Expo Center and on the MetraPark grounds.
The Home and Health Expo in the Montana Pavilion and is part of the MATE.
The first day of three-day MATE show finished Thursday evening,
It runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.