raised in the west

Holding Out for a Hero

Cowboys design rope saving breakaway device With the skill of the cowboy and fast action of the horse, team roping is the fastest-growing sport in rodeo. But while spectators watch competitors launch from the chute and race into the arena to catch the heads and heels of a steer, it’s easy to forget the countless…

A Wild Ride

The high-flying fun of ski joring makes a comeback Sometimes you find adventure and sometimes adventure finds you. This is a story of the latter, and of how two adventurous Red Lodge women, Kristen Beck and Monica Plecker, found themselves at the helm of the National Finals Ski Joring in Red Lodge, one of Montana’s…

Getting Enough Fiber?

It’s woven deep into Montana’s agriculture If you look at the Montana landscape, you’ll see fluffy animals grazing on pastures far and wide. Many of these creatures are being raised for meat, but ranchers are also supplying an indispensable product to  fiber artists worldwide. Fiber — of all varieties —  is woven deeply into Montana’s…

The World Famous Bucking Horse Sale

When the wild west takes over Miles City, Montana The third weekend in May. In Miles City, Montana, it’s an “official,” unofficial holiday weekend. Or week. Depending on how serious you are about commemorating the town’s signature event: the World Famous Bucking Horse Sale. Those who have been to it, get it. Those who haven’t…

Ben Thomas: Growing the Right Agricultural Climate

Montana Department of Agriculture Director celebrates a year at the helm Montana and agriculture go hand in hand, which means taking the reins to assist producers in this multi-faceted industry is no small feat. Never swayed by a challenge, Ben Thomas stepped into the job a little more than a year ago as the newly…

It’s a Family Affair

Columbus Family helps N.I.L.E. celebrate 50 years Fifty years ago, history was made at a Billings Chamber of Commerce meeting when a vision was created to host a livestock exhibition, showcasing all breeds and promoting the agriculture industry. It was the birth of The Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE). Since that idea sprouted with its…

Places & Faces: Sheridan

The ‘Best of the West’…only better There’s something extra special about Sheridan, Wyoming. But then again, I’m biased. Years ago, I was drawn to Sheridan by its Western charm. I would probably still live there if life hadn’t dragged me away. Though decades have passed, that Western appeal hasn’t tarnished a bit. Sheridan is still…

Home Grown Goodness

Yellowstone Valley Food Hub helps keep local food local As you walk through farmer’s markets across the state, locally-sourced produce and meats are showcased with bounty, adorning tables, and filling up baskets and bushels. It’s a vibrant display in shades of rich ambers, vibrant greens, bright yellows, deep reds and soft browns. The goods are…

Milking an Opportunity

How Kalispell Kreamery landed on the Montana Dairy Map Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. So when Hedstrom Dairy of Kalispell faced a dire situation nearly a decade ago, its owners could either reinvent themselves or sell off their cows like most of the dairies in the same situation. The Hedstroms chose…

Hollenbeck Ranch

Molt rancher pioneers a new way of “branding” Sara Hollenbeck owes a lot to Mr. Totes MaGoats. He was the little orange goat that her husband, Henry Hollenbeck, bought for $5 and jokingly gave to her as a first-anniversary present. Sara, who moved from California to marry Henry, had already been using social media to…

Big Sandy’s Bob Quinn

Renaissance Man of Organic Agriculture There’s more than one way to utilize a safflower plant or industrial hemp for that matter. And while most farmers shudder at the lack of rain for weeks – even months – at a stretch, Big Sandy organic farmer Bob Quinn takes it in stride. For Quinn, problems are opportunities…

The Lodgepole Complex Fire: After the Ashes

Communities rally to come to farmers and ranchers aid Through much of August, Lori Murnion’s cell phone rang 10 to 20 times a day, which is a lot for someone who says she is “sort of retired.” Lori is the point person for feed and fencing supply donations coming into Jordan after the Lodgepole Complex…

The Classic Country of Lonnie Bell

Decades of musical fame for the man behind the mic What makes a good country song? According to Country music DJ Lonnie Bell, a good country song must evoke a feeling everyone can relate to, and tell a story everyone can believe. If that’s true, he may be the perfect country song. Every Sunday from…

Go Wild

Native Plants Reclaiming the Landscape of the West With the warm season finally in full swing here in the Rocky Mountain region of Montana and Wyoming, it’s never been easier to find reasons to appreciate the nature which surrounds us. Wildflowers begin to emerge from the warming soil, shining their colorful faces into our world….

Faces & Places: Lively Livingston, MT

Defined by river, ranchers, writers and…wind Driving in from the east, the first sign is the windsock. The orange “tube” along Interstate 90 merely flutters today, meaning it’s an extra good day in Livingston, Montana. It’s a good day for gazing at galleries, a good day for dining outside and a good day for casting…

Rhythm & Harmony the Western Way

Trio of brothers brings classic sounds center stage When brothers John, Marty, and Joe Kosel stood up in the corner of the dining hall at the Red Lodge Senior Citizens Center, the trio was so nervous they were barely able to introduce themselves, but they could sing, and they did. Their silky, three-part western harmony…

Cowgirl Couture Rolls Around Region

Miles City girls offer traveling Western boutique If you were to describe Gumbo Lilies in one word it would be ‘fun.’ Fun clothes. Fun atmosphere. Fun women who own the unique business. “A 32-foot dream closet on wheels” as described by one customer, Gumbo Lilies is the first noted traveling clothing boutique in the state….

DIRT Rich

A Vision For Sustainability We all love the story of the underdog — the misunderstood, underestimated, anti-hero of a tale. But, every underdog needs an advocate in order to shine. Alissa LaChance, owner of DIRT Rich Composting in Montana’s Flathead Valley, is just such an advocate. In fact, she advocates for the littlest guys of…

Promoting Sweet Success

Agri-Best Feeds’ supplemental super fuel for livestock   If you’re going to sell a product, it sure helps if you believe in it. That explains why Irv Haidle was able to build a thriving family business based on sales of SweetPro, a feed supplement made from distiller’s grain. Haidle almost didn’t get into the business,…

The Changing Face of Agriculture’s Future

The evolution of 4-H and FFA With roots firmly planted on the farm, Montana’s 4-H and FFA organizations are steadily evolving to meet the needs of the youth among the ever-changing agricultural landscape. These programs are no longer solely the realm of children steeped in the seasonality of the farm or ranch. Instead, they offer…

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