BILLINGS, Mont. – Since 1967, the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) has grown to become one of the premier stock show and rodeo events in the western United States. The family-friendly event is set to take place once again at the MetraPark in Billings, Mont., on Oct. 15-23.
As a non-profit 501(c)(5), the NILE is an organization dedicated to the promotion of livestock, agriculture education, and respect for the western culture. The NILE has found a way to foster these pillars through a competitive, yet fun, series of events and contests that pay homage to agriculture’s traditions.
With youth as one of the major focuses of the NILE, the Junior Fed Market Shows are one of the event’s major draws. Youth from all over the region come to show their fed steers, lambs, hogs and goats. Last year the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the NILE from hosting an in-person Junior Fed Market Show, but the organization is more than pleased to announce that this year the NILE will be back to its original format.
Youth will check in their livestock on Friday, Oct. 15. The Junior Fed Market Hog Show will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, with the Junior Fed Market Steer Show to follow at 2 p.m. Junior Fed Market Lamb and Goat shows will be held on Sunday, Oct. 17, at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively. The pinnacle of the Junior Fed Market Shows will be the Sale of Champions, which will take place at 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18.
Since its maiden year, the NILE has come to be known for its elite cattle breed shows. Whether it’s Black Angus, Longhorn, South Devon, Miniature Hereford, or anything in between, there will be various competition shows throughout the week, vying for top honors. This year the shows will be as competitive as ever – given the fact last year’s breed shows had to be cancelled. The NILE’s competitive reputation still stands though, even despite the one-year hiatus.
“Presently, our livestock entries are at a record high,” said Chad Reisig, general manager of the NILE.
Always a big draw, the NILE’s various horse events will be as exciting as ever this year, too. Equine events will begin on Friday, Oct. 15, with the Runnin’ the Rims Barrel Race. Time only runs will begin at 1 p.m. at the First Interstate Arena with the actual barrel race to follow at 6 p.m. Barrel racing will continue on into the weekend with races starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, and 8 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17.
Horse events will continue with the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge and AQHA and All Breed Versatility Ranch Horse Competition taking place on Monday, Oct. 18, at the Miller Horse Palace starting at 4 p.m. More showings will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 19, and Wednesday Oct. 20. The Gold Buckle Futurities will take place on Thursday, Oct. 21, at the First Interstate Arena starting at 8 a.m. The best in performance horse genetics will be on display in the arena, a sight that should not be missed.
The week of horse events will conclude on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 11 a.m. with the NILE Gold Buckle Select Performance Horse Sale. Everything from finished performance horses, ranch horses, weanling and yearling prospects will be showcased in the sale.
The NILE would not be complete without its PRCA Rodeo. Again, the pandemic forced the rodeo to be cancelled last year, but there is no doubt the First Interstate Arena will be packed this year as the best of the best professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls compete for added money. Rodeo performances will take place on the evenings of Oct. 21-23, starting at 7 p.m.
The week of the NILE will also include several youth and educational events. The fourth grade agriculture education day, set to happen this year on Wednesday, Oct. 20, has become a NILE institution. The 4-H and FFA livestock and sale competitions, to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 19, will also provide youth an opportunity to compete at the NILE.
“Ultimately that is what we are all about: promoting agriculture through the youth,” Reisig said.
It is safe to say there will be a little something for everyone at this year’s NILE. MetraPark will be abuzz with livestock, horses, rodeo action and shopping galore.
For more information on the NILE or to view a master schedule for the event, please visit www.thenile.org.