Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gizmo Montana Tour

We have been in the Angus business for going on twenty years. We have been blessed to have the opportunity to travel to many Angus farms in the southeast. We have also attended National Junior Angus shows in Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Kansas. We try to make the National Western in Denver every couple of years but for some reason we have never had the opportunity to visit any Angus operations in Montana or Wyoming which are two states we have always wanted to visit. So this year we started to make plans for a trip to this part of the country. When we told our friend Craig Guffey of Rainbow Angus about the trip he said he was also trying to plan a trip to visit Montana he had purchased a new bull from Coleman Angus and wanted to get out to Coleman to preview their sale offering. We finally got dates that would work for the four of us Ronnie and I our son Jacob and our friend Craig. We tried to talk our daughter-in-law Carla into going but her response was that although she would love to visit that part of the country she just didn’t have any desire to see every black cow in it. Did I mention that Carla is not a cow person (I will save that for a future blog.)  We scheduled the trip to fly out of Pensacola on August 7th and come back on August 14th. Ronnie began calling some of the operations that we really wanted to see to schedule our visit, they were Sinclair Cattle Company, Sitz Angus, Van Dyke Angus and Coleman Angus. Also on our schedule was Genex and Origen bull studs. Overall we traveled over 1500 miles and we really did look at a bunch of black cows!
Day One

The first day after arriving in Billings, our first stop was ORIgen of the bulls we looked at we all agreed that our favorite was the B C Emblazon 854E 8023  after completing our tour of ORIgen we traveled to Cody Wyoming in route I saw the rainbow and just knew this was going to be a great trip. We had reservations at Cody Cowboy Village and it was wonderful, nice people and nice rooms. We arrived in Cody it had been a long day so we decided to go out for some dinner then call it a night.  Did I mention the awesom beds at the Cody cowboy Village?

Day Two

We were scheduled to go to Powell Wyoming to meet Lewis Hagen Western Operations Manager of Sinclair Cattle Company at 8:00 on Saturday Morning. We met Lewis at a bit after eight at an embryo facility.  We looked at some of their donor cows as well as a large group of embryo calves housed at this location.

We spent the entire day looking at cattle with Lewis we were able to view a large group of calves out of the new Scottish sires and have to admit they were quite impressive. We were also able to see some of the Scottish bred cows in production and again impressive. It was a great day came away with renewed interest in utilizing some of the Scottish genetics in our herd.  We finished up the day with a meal at the Irma Hotel in Cody then called it a day.

A 707 son at sinclair's

Ronnie was really popular with the equine set

Day Three

Craig Guffey, Jacob, Debbie and Ronnie Gilmore

Sunday we traveled through Yellowstone National Park we did not make it to any church services but all we had to do was look around us to see and be able to feel God’s presence! The beauty of this part of our country for me indescribable! After a wonderful day of being tourist we traveled to Three Forks Montana and stayed at a wonderful little motel the Broken Spur Motel .

Ronnie and Debbie

Jacob Gilmore

Craig Guffey

The Entrance of the Park

Day Four
Oops I forgot my camera!

Ok I forgot the camera which to be honest helps me recall items we saw on the trip since, I as the children in my Sunday school class have told me have a gold fish brain. We went to visit with Bob Sitz of  Sitz Angus Ranch  while there Bob told us that he also had a group of Australians coming in for a tour. In addition to a call he received from the Oian's from MN. We started out looking at his bulls that are located at the home ranch then Bob explained that he had a funeral to attend that afternoon but if we wanted to drive to their Summer pasture location Dan would meet us and continue the tour. All of us opted to head to the mountain pastures and I am so glad we did. Dan looked like he was riding straight out of Lonesome Dove and was so very polite as well as knowledgeable. Sitz Angus is just a wonderful operation and I am so glad we had the opportunity to see it. I will have to say my favorite sire group at Sitz was Game Day.  We stayed another night at the Broken Spur.

Day Five

Group of Cattle at Van Dyke Angus

We left the hotel and headed to Lee Van Dyke’s ranch. Lee couldn’t have been any nicer we took a ride out to his pasture and looked at a group of really nice cow calf pairs.

Being from Florida we don’t find ourselves having to deal with freezing temperatures so we were both fascinated with the portable calving shed we saw at Lee’s. We then headed over to his brother Keith’s and looked at another group of cows with heifer calves. It is obvious when talking to the Van Dyke brothers why they have been so successful in the Angus business. You can see their commitment to the breed as well as their customers. I didn’t realize that the Van Dykes had started out in the dairy business but it made me realize why they do such a good job of developing these highly maternal cow families. I wish we could have spent more time with the Van Dykes but had to move on toward Charlo.

Ronnie, Keith Van Dyke and Jacob

Day 6

After leaving the Van Dykes we headed toward Charlo Montana and our last stop Coleman Angus, this portion of the trip took us through Butte Montana and the unique beauty of this area was incredible. We spent the night in Missoula then headed to Coleman. When we arrived we were met by Larry Coleman who took us out to see his Coleman Foundation 972 calf and he was really nice. We also looked at a number of their donor cows, cow calf pairs and open heifers. Again super nice folks with a wonderful program, unfortunately we had to get back on the road heading back to Billings and a long plane ride back to Florida.

Day 7

A Scottish bull at Genex
Our last day was spent touring the Genex Cooperative, Inc. bull stud where we saw Traveler 004, Grass Master, Bismarck and a number of others. We then headed out toward Fishtail Montana to see a friend of Craig’s that is involved in the club calf business. Zane had some awesome calves we toured his place and saw some really good cows and bulls.

Well that pretty well covers our trip to the Big Sky Country. The hospitality that we were shown by Lewis Hagen, Bob Sitz and his crew, The Van Dyke brothers, the Coleman family and Zane will never be forgotten.  As Tom Burke would say Happy Trails!

Debbie Gilmore

Gizmo Angus Farm

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