Montana Stockgrowers Association celebrates 125th anniversary

Jun 29, 2009
by WLJ
Montana Stockgrower’s Association celebrates 125th anniversary

Cattle producers and industry leaders from across Montana and the nation gathered in Miles City, MT, June 10-14 to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA). Over 1,000 people participated in one or more of the events throughout the week. Events included committee and business meetings, a joint 125th Anniversary dinner at the Miles City Club, the Evelyn Cameron Breakfast honoring 100-year-or-older ranches, the Five Star Kick Off history review, the Cow Pasture Golf Scramble, tours of Miles City attractions, the Stockmen’s Ball, the Five Star Parade, the MSGA Ranch Rodeo, and a street dance.

“I think our 125th celebration will be an event people remember for a long time,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA’s president. “We were hoping that this event could help us start to unite the industry in Montana, and this was a great first step. It was a great time to come together to celebrate 125 years of shared history in the cattle business and look forward to many more to come.” MSGA’s mid-year meetings began on Wednesday, June 10, at the Miles Community College with meetings of the MSGA Board of Directors, the Montana Grass Conservation Commission, the joint Board of Directors of the Montana Public Lands Council and the Montana Association of Grazing Districts, and MS- GA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Wednesday evening, the Montana CattleWomen held an educational forum and social, the Past Presidents of MSGA met and the Young Stockgrowers gathered at Riverside Park for a business meeting and social.

Thursday featured committee meetings where attendees heard from speakers and discussed important issues facing the cattle industry today. Thursday night, the Miles City Club hosted the Stockgrowers to celebrate their joint 125th Anniversary with a traditional pork dinner. About 450 people attended the dinner, many dressed in the style of the late 1800s, and some competed in the beard and mustache contest. Live music and dancing rounded out the evening.

Friday morning at the Evelyn Cameron Breakfast, 90 “Centennial Ranches” were honored. The ranches have been in the same family and on the same land for over 100 years.

After the breakfast and a short business meeting, Miles City Mayor Joe Whalen presented MSGA a “key”—a gate latch—to the city. A presentation of issues from the past 125 years followed.

The group enjoyed lunch, then headed off to the Cow Pasture Golf Scramble or their choice of tours in the Miles City area. Friday evening, the group reconvened at the Miles Community College Center for the Stockmen’s Ball. The Barn Players per formed a melodrama, and live music was provided by Whiskey River. Saturday morning’s parade down Main Street drew over 100 horse drawn and pre-1959 motorized entries.

Saturday afternoon, over 1,000 people filled the grandstands at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds to watch 12 MSGA member teams compete in team penning, team mugging, team branding, wild cow milking, and saddle bronc riding at the MSGA Ranch Rodeo. A street dance with live music followed.

Between the Miles City Club dinner and the Stockmen’s Ball, nine prints of an original painting created by David Graham, seven bronzes created by Brett Badgett, and eight Montana Silversmith buckles were auctioned off. The proceeds from the prints and buckles will go to MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation to create a college scholarship.

“We were honored to be able to host the event,” said John Laney of the Miles City Chamber of Commerce. “We felt that the town really got behind all of our efforts and we showed everyone what we felt was a good time and what eastern Montana is all about. I know everybody in town is still pretty darn excited about the thing. Everybody is still just kind of buzzing from it. I think it went well.” — WLJ