by Jesse Wallewein, Montana Wool Growers Association
What started out as a normal event for the consignors and buyers at the 91st Annual Montana Ram Sale, turned into a sale that many will never forget. The day started out like any other. Buzz and excitement filled the air as potential buyers started to arrive in Miles City to look over the rams and speak to the consignors. For one family, Chase and Emily Hibbard of Sieben Live Stock, this would be their last sale. The Hibbard family has been consigning rams to the Montana Ram Sale since 1950 and have chosen to retire their purebred sheep operation this year.
Before Chase Hibbard sold his first ram of the sale, a Targhee Stud ram, friend and fellow consignor Jack McRae, honored the legacy that Sieben Live Stock has built upon over the last 65 years. McRae told an incredible story of which Chase’s Dad, Hank Hibbard, sorted through 10,000 Rambouillet ewes to find 800 that were of Targhee “type” to start their Targhee flock. Sieben Live Stock has never missed a sale since they began consigning and over the years have sold 3,072 rams (not counting 2016). Most of their flock has been sold now. Over the years, Chase has helped out many young producers so it seemed fitting that his ewes stay in Montana. For the most part, the majority of his ewes will be going to younger producers.
Chase took a moment to say a few words before his 3073rd ram sold:
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this industry and to be a part of this sale. This is the most progressive sale in the United States and it shows. We’ve got information that nobody else has, we’ve made tremendous progress with the introduction of NSIP and even more when we went to the range index. We’ve got a wonderful sale and I’m so honored to be a part of this. I’m really encouraged at this point at the number of new producers and young consignors that are coming in. Things are looking good for the industry! This is a great organization and a great sale so let’s sell ram #3073!”
With this being their last sale, people were eager to get the last of Sieben Live Stock’s genetics. Chase’s Targhee stud ram went on to sell for $7,750, which broke the sale record for the highest selling Targhee Stud ram. That ram was bought by the TLE Ranch from Gillette, Wyoming. Sieben Live Stock would go on to break the sale record for the highest selling range ram sold for $11,250, purchased by Heinrich Ortmann, Sam Ortmann, and Hughes Newford Co., all of Montana. They later broke their own sale record by selling a ram for $14,000, purchased by Judy Scanlan of Malin, Oregon.
The Hibbard Family and Sieben Live Stock will be greatly missed in the sheep industry and at next year’s sale. MWGA would like to thank them for the profound contributions that they have made over the years and the efforts they have put in to grow and strengthen our industry.
91st Annual Montana Ram Sale Results:
Helle Rambouillet of Dillon had the highest selling Rambouillet ram that sold for $2,200. Heart Lazy P Suffolks of Miles City had the highest selling blackface ram that sold for $1,450.
Sale Gross on 310 Range Rams: $264,425.00
Sale Average on 310 Range Rams: $852.98
Columbia Ram Average on 5 Head: $270.00
Rambouillet X Merino Ram Average on 12 head: $483.33 (Low $300, High $700)
Merino/SAMM Ram Average on 5 head: $540.00 (Low $350, High $700)
Targhee Ram Average on 222 head: $931.64 (Low $175, High $14,000)
Suffolk X Hampshire Ram Average on 8 Head: $800 (Low $600, High $900)
Suffolk Ram Average on 23 Head: $778.26 (Low $450, High $1,450)
Rambouillet Ram Average on 35 Head: $670.00 (Low $200, High $2,200)
The 3rd Annual Montana Ewe Sale saw 398 quality commercial yearling whiteface and Suffolk ewe lambs sell in Miles City on September 14th.The whiteface yearling ewes represented were Targhee, Rambouillet, Merino and Targhee X Rambouillet breeding. These whiteface ewes averaged $284.00 with pens of 10 averaging $372 while pens of 20 were $287. Ten head of Suffolk ewe lambs averaged $400. Overall the average was $287 on all ewes sold—very similar to last year’s ewe sale. This is a reflection of the quality of breeding stock offered and the buyer assurance of healthy, productive ewes that come from the MT Ewe Sale.
Buyers came from Montana, South Dakota, and Idaho, with some ewes sold over the internet. The high selling pen of 10 and 20 Targhee yearlings were both consigned by Carolyn Green of Melville, MT and both lots were purchased by Brady Ruff of Forsyth for $550 and $400/head, respectively. Volume buyer of on-site sheep was Phillips Creek Ranch located at Cohagen, MT.
The two-day sale had a combined gross of $378,875 and saw 120 registered bidders from Montana, South Dakota, Idaho, North Dakota, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming. While averages were lower this year than last year, the sale was still a very successful one! Both sales were handled by Frontier Stockyards of Miles City and they went off without a hitch! These sales wouldn’t be possible without the many volunteers and generous donations from the Miles City Community. We’ll see everyone next year with even more quality yearling ewes and rams at the 92nd Annual Montana Ram Sale and the 4th Annual Montana Ewe Sale in Miles City!
Source: Montana Wool Growers Association
Photo courtesy of MWGA