MT & WY Ram Sales: Good Year To Be In The Business!



The 85th Montana Ram Sale was held September 16 before a packed house at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds in Miles City. Auctioneer Rob Fraser sold the 270 rams in three hours for an average price of $732.04, the second highest average in the sale’s history.

High selling ram was a Targhee consigned by Sieben Live Stock of Helena which sold to Dilts Ranch of Douglas, Wyoming for $1750. Brad Boner of Glenrock, Wyoming purchased a Tunby Targhee ram for $1600 for the second highest price paid.

Stevens Ranch of Joliet topped the blackface with a Suffolk ram lamb selling to McGinnis Ranch of Fairview, Montana for $1500. Stevens was the sale’s high consignor, averaging $1025 on four head.

Helle Ranch of Dillon was the lone consignor of Merino crosses which averaged $870 for the high breed average. The highest animal sold to Davene Finkbeiner of Grass Range for $950. Helle is also the lone consignor of Rambouillets which sold for an average of $845.65. High selling Rambouillet sold to Pete Wirtzfeld of Sentinel Butte, North Dakota for $1050.

Gibbs Range Rams of Jordan sold the high selling Columbia ram to John McKerlick of Jordan for $850. The Gibbs family are the only consignor of Hamp Suffolk crosses and the top ram lamb brought $750 from Brian Morast of Fallon, Montana.

The sale sold steady with thirty-seven rams selling for $1000 or more, and fifty-two head selling for less than $500. With lambs selling in the $1.40 to $1.50 per pound range all the rams looked reasonably priced.

Rams buyers came from North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Canada.


Responding to industry-high sheep and wool prices, the 82nd Annual “Wyoming State Ram Sale”, held in Douglas on the State Fairgrounds Tuesday, September 14, 2010, showed strong demand and prices for “wool” or “white-faced” breeds, indicating to many that the industry is in a “rebuilding” phase. Strong demand for breeds noted for producing the type of sheep needed for the ewe base in Wyoming is an indication that producers are likely re-building production numbers following years of decline due to weak markets and drought.


The Wyoming Wool Growers Association sponsored sale has become one of the highest grossing sales of its kind in the nation, and has set record high national prices in the past. While that is not likely to happen in 2010, prices none-theless were significantly higher in many of the category’s as compared to the past several years, and were in keeping with surrounding states sales which are also reporting markedly higher returns.

The most notable characteristic of this year’s sale was the level of

interest in rams from the Rambouillet and Targhee breeds, which are regarded as the “maternal” breeds of sheep in Wyoming and are often referred to as the “white-faced” breeds. Prices from the “meat” or “black-faced” breeds, typically utilized to produce a lamb destined strictly for the meat market, while strong, were not in keeping with the rams utilized to produce replacement females to replenish a flock. This indicates to many that producers are in a “rebuilding” mode, breeding for females that can be used to replenish and augment herds that have been diminished due to lower market conditions in the past and more than 8 years of drought in Wyoming.

Overall, in 2010, 254 rams sold through the auction ring for an average

price of $650.20 per head, a good gain over the 2009 average price of $605.45/head. Topping this year’s sale again was another tremendous ram consigned by the Hageman Sisters of Douglas, WY. When the auctioneers gavel finally fell, Lot #5 was destined for his new home in Pennsylvania. Boyd and Janet Smith of Kunkle Town, PA purchased the tremendous Rambouillet yearling ram for a sale topping price of $3,300. Hageman Sisters also had the second high selling ram in the sale with Lot #1, a certified Rambouillet, selling for $2,400 to Bucklin Ranches of Outlook, MT. This was the sixth straight year that a Hageman Sisters buck was the high selling ram in the Wyoming State Ram Sale, indicating the tremendous and deep running quality found in this exceptional herd.


Lot #5 wasn’t the only Rambouillet ram to bring top dollar. By the end

of the day, 16 Rambouillet’s had sold for $900 or more, and the Hageman

Sisters consignment of 25 head averaged over that amount.

The high averaging breed again this year were the Targhee yearlings. The 14 head of tremendously high quality rams sold for a 2010 State Ram Sale breed high average price of $832.14. They were followed by the Rambouillet Yearlings, which averaged $693.67 on 158 head. One of the many high points in the sale came from the newest and youngest consignor to the sale. Ryan Boner of Glenrock, WY brought his first ever consignment to the 2010 State Ram Sale with 5 head of outstanding yearling Targhee bucks. Buyers were so impressed with this young man’s

consignment that they rewarded him with the high selling Targhee of the sale, with two of his rams selling for $1,600 each.

A feature of this year’s sale was again a select offering of the “Best of the Best” from the just-completed 2010 WWGA/MSLC/UW “Ram Sire” performance test. This was the ninth time that rams from the performance

test were offered in the State Ram Sale with 19 rams from the top 20{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4} of the Test selling. A tremendous Hampshire ram lamb from the University of

Wyoming brought $1,250 to top the division, the second year in a row that a UW buck has garnered the high selling price for this division. Overall, the 19 head of performance tested ram lambs averaged $582.89 per head.

Volume buyer in this year’s sale was the J&A Phillips Ranch of Paul, Idaho, who took home 21 head of the very best rams offered in this years

sale. They were closely followed by the Boner family, owners of Cole Creek Ranches in Glenrock.


The sale followed the WWGA’s annual “Ram Sale Membership Meeting

which provided attendees with up to date information on a myriad of industry issues and stimulated considerable discussion during the course of the sale events. The major topic of discussion was the proposal to transfer physical and administrative authority of the livestock and  livestock facilities in Laramie, currently overseen and controlled by the UW Department of Animal Science, to the Agriculture Experiment Station. Following an in-depth discussion of the issue, members attending the meeting adopted a strong resolution of opposition to the proposed transfer. Consequently, WWGA officers will now be attempting to convince UW to halt the transfer.


Other topics included results of the recently completed WWGA/MSLC/UW Ram Test, a discussion of the revolutionary GrowSafe® system recently installed at the University of Wyoming Sheep Unit and a preview of the upcoming legislative session and WWGA Annual Convention, which will be held November 12-14 in conjunction with the Idaho Wool Growers Association in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Many see the positive results of this years Wyoming State Ram Sale as

the further continuation of the Wyoming sheep industries revival and

“renaissance”, and the WWGA is tremendously optimistic and enthused about the future of the sheep industry in Wyoming.

Source: Jack McRae, Montana Wool Growers; Bryce Reece, Wyoming Wool Growers

Posted by Kaci Switzer

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