A trifecta of livestock promotion, agricultural education and preservation of the Western way of life, will keep cowboys, ranchers, kids and families busy and highly entertained at the 55th annual Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) Oct. 14 to 22.
The immersive experience includes everything from cattle breed and junior livestock shows and a western marketplace to team roping, barrel racing and rodeo competitions.
The jam-packed nine-day event will attract more than 600 exhibitors from across the U.S. showcasing their animals and wares, multiple hands-on kid-focused activities, student-driven 4-H competitions and a Radiant Rodeo for fans with special needs. For shoppers, three tradeshows will be packed with merchandise.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity for our Billings residents to take advantage of our Western culture and have the opportunity to get close to cattle, sheep, goats, horses and so much more,” said Leah Morgan Clark, NILE general manager. “There is something, literally, for everyone. For residents who have just moved here, for ranchers, horse lovers, students.”
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Against the backdrop of thousands of cattle at the Expo Center and Montana Pavilion, the exposition will include several exciting new activities as well as some variations on standard favorites. In addition to the wildly popular Runnin’ the Rims Barrel Race, A Spin 2 Win team roping competition will pit two-man teams against a steer in the ultimate challenge in speed. Mountain States Stock Dog Trials will showcase highly trained dogs in a series of competitive maneuvers designed to move cattle.
“These dogs are incredibly amazing to watch,” Morgan Clark said. “If you are a dog lover, this event features the best of the best of these specialty dogs and what they can do. For ranchers, these dogs are invaluable when they are out moving cattle, especially when the ranchers don’t have enough help. These dogs become their second cowboy.”
Morgan Clark said one significant change this year is that NILE will be hosting its own preliminary rounds of the highly competitive Ranch Rodeo Finals. In the past, teams have had to qualify somewhere else to compete at the NILE event. This year, 34 teams, the majority of them from Montana, will compete in the preliminaries at the Super Barn prior to the final competition at the Metra Park arena. Teams will be competing in three categories: doctoring, trailering and branding along with Wild Cow Milking and Ranch Bronc riding competitions.
For more information on the NILE’s daily schedule, please visit thenile.org.