For 96 years, sheep producers from across the nation have traveled to the Big Sky state to attend the annual Montana Ram Sale.
This year’s Montana Ram and Ewe Sale will take place in Miles City at the Eastern Montana Fair Grounds on Sept. 15 and 16. It’s a venue that showcases Montana’s high-quality sheep genetics.
Montana Wool Growers President Ken McKamey of Great Falls explained that decades ago, Montana sheep producers were at the forefront of improving their flocks by participating in the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) and use science-based Estimated Breeding Values, which are industry-tested measurements of heritable traits. Because of this, Montana sheep are highly valued by producers nationwide.
“Estimated Breeding Values have been in the cattle industry for a long time,” said McKamey. “So, we were kind of at the forefront of that in the sheep industry. And, and we've got probably some of the best sheep you'll find anywhere in the United States.
The Montana Ram Sale was first sponsored by the Eastern Montana Wool Growers in its early years. By 1950, they were ready to turn it over to someone else and the Montana Wool Growers has run it ever since.
“Originally the sale moved around from year to year,” said McKamey. “In about 1950, it became permanent there in Miles City.”
Events get underway on Sept. 15 with an educational program hosted by Montana State University Extension. The program runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Topics covered include: “Drought Feeding Options”, by Extension Sheep Specialist, Brent Roeder, and Dr. Chris Posbergh, and “Drought Livestock Water Testing” by county extension agents, Mike Schuldt and Marley Manoukian.
The 8th Annual Montana Ewe Sale will take place at 6 p.m. on the evening of the 15th with a social starting at 5 p.m.
On Thursday the 16th, over 295 rams will be offered for sale. Breeds include Targhee, Suffolk, Rambouillet, Hampshire, Rambouillet cross and Suffolk Hampshire cross.
A lamb lunch will be held at 11 a.m. with the sale following at 12 p.m.
For more information on the 96th Montana Ram Sale and 8th Ewe Sale, visit mtsheep.org.