Attendance was up at MSGA’s 125th Annual Convention and Trade Show, held Dec. 10-12 at a new location—the Crowne Plaza hotel and Metra Park in Billings, Mont. Nearly 750 registrations were recorded.
“We had a wonderful convention this year,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA’s President. “A large number of people participated in the committee meetings where policy is set and enjoyed our expanded trade show and educational seminars. The Von Trapp Children Singers provided entertainment that everyone enjoyed. Overall, it was a great convention in a great location!”
Below, please find some of the highlights:
-Tom Hougen, President, Watty Taylor, 1st Vice President and Tucker Hughes, Second Vice President were re-elected to the second year of their two-year terms.
-Michael “Mick” Denowh of the Gartner-Denowh Angus Ranch in Sidney was elected to the Board of Directors representing the Northeastern District. Heath Martinell of Lee Martinell, Co. in Dell was elected to the Board of Directors representing the Western District.
-Policy to guide MSGA officers and staff through 2010 was set in a process that began with committee meetings, progressed to the second reading and finished at the third reading. Notable new policies address brucellosis, cap and trade legislation, export certification, wolf management, grazing issues, public lands access, the EQIP program, predator control, trapping, workman’s comp and property taxes.
-The Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA) in Malta was awarded with the 2010 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award sponsored by MSGA and the Montana Beef Council at the Northern Ag Network Lunch. RSA is the 17th winner in the history of the award and the first group to be honored. MSGA will submit RSA for the regional and national Environmental Stewardship Award in February. Learn more about RSA at http://www.ranchersstewardshipalliance.org/.
-Governor Brian Schweitzer addressed 500 people at the Northern Ag Network Lunch.
-Radio and TV personality, and agriculture advocate, Trent Loos, entertained the attendees of the Opening General Session with stories about people who are out of touch with agriculture. He urged the group to get out and tell their stories about ranching and raising cattle.
-The Trade Show boasted nearly 100 booths, several large equipment displays, a lineup of Ford vehicles, free boot shines, a kid’s play area, free silk scarves, and sponsored dinner stations and “watering holes.” This year the Trade Show also included the First Annual Cattle Pen Display with 11 seedstock exhibitors.
-Curt Pate and Ron Gill’s two-hour “Effective Stockmanship” clinic headlined a full and diverse group of Pfizer Cattlemen’s Colleges that educated attendees about cattle handling, estate planning, and cattle nutrition and reproduction.
-Clarence Blunt of Malta was named MSGA’s “Top Hand” for recruiting 23 new members this year. He won a $1,000 gift certificate to the trade show exhibitor of his choice. Jim and Tammi Sitz of Dillon were second place top recruiters with 13 new members recruited. They were awarded $500 to spend at one of the trade show exhibitors.
-Carol Mosher of Augusta, Mont. was named “Ranching Woman of the Year” at the Grand Finale Banquet on Saturday night, Dec. 12.
-Ty Thompson, the 2009 World Champion Livestock Auctioneer was on hand to auction off many items during the Grand Finale Banquet including the Brett Badgett Bronze, a kids’ saddle donated by Bank of Baker, Basin State Bank, and Nutra-Lix, and reels of Ralgrow donated by Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health. The Cattle Directory Priority Page Auction raised $49,600 to go towards marketing Montana’s seedstock and commercial cattle and allied services.
-Pauline Webb of Townsend won the zero-turn lawnmower donated by Torgerson’s LLC. She donated it to the Montana CattleWomen scholarship fund.
-The Von Trapp Children Singers, the great grandchildren of Captain and Maria Von Trapp from the Sound of Music, provided entertainment at the Montana CattleWomen Inspirational Breakfast and the Grand Finale Banquet on Saturday. The Von Trapps were raised in Kalispell, Mont. and perform all over the world.
-Michael and Paulette Keller of Sulphur Creek Cattle Co. in Lloyd, Mont. were the lucky winners of the 2009 Ford F-150 given away by MSGA and the Montana Ford Dealers at the Grand Finale Banquet.
-Copies of “The Weak Ones Turned Back, The Cowards Never Started: A Century of Ranching in Montana,” which was commissioned by the MSGA Board of Directors to celebrate ranching’s history in Montana and MSGA’s 125th Anniversary, were sold out with pre-orders and sales at convention. Editor Linda Grosskopf and artist Aubry Smith were on hand during the Trade Show to sign copies of the book.
-This year’s convention was marked by a special note of generosity by attendees. Over $12,000 was raised for the Younkin family who lost their brother and son in a car accident that also injured the family’s three other children. The giving began when Board of Director Jeff Pattison won the raffle of the David Graham painting and put it up for auction to benefit the Younkins. Arvin Arthun followed suit when he won the NutraLix saddle raffle. Mark and Patti Harrison of Harrison Land and Livestock won the print auction, and donated it back to be auctioned again, and then it was won by Bill and Betsy Donald of Cayuse Livestock Company, who also donated it back. The print ended up being donated to the MSGA office after the MSGA officers were the high bidder on the third raffle. The saddle went to high bidder Thompson Cattle Company and was donated back for another auction, the high bidder being Nick Schultz with the Grand Prairie Ranch in Roundup. Air Design donated a rock design that was auctioned for the Younkins. Also, many people dug in their pockets and donated what they could to help the family.
-Plans are already underway for MSGA’s Mid-Year meeting which will be held in Dillon, June 10-12.
***Visit our Facebook page to see photos from the event!***