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Bison flood the National Western Stock Show

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Published on Jan. 25, 2020

Denver – A symbol of the American West, bison will be among traditional livestock at the National Western Stock Show as the National Bison Association (NBA) celebrates 25 years of excellence. 

National Western Stock Show

            According to NBA, more than 100 head of live bison were present at the National Western Stock Show for NBA’s annual Gold Trophy Show and Sale. 

            Meanwhile, 400 bison ranchers and marketers gathered at the Renaissance Hotel Stapleton for the association’s 25th Anniversary conference featuring presentations and discussions focused on continuing to grow the marketplace for deliciously healthy bison meat.

            “The bison business is expanding its efforts to develop meaningful relationships with our customers based on the great taste, nutritional attributes and environmental benefits of bison meat,” says Dave Carter, executive director of NBA. “During our conference, we will be focusing heavily on working with the public as partners in bison restoration.”

            In addition to the live animal sale featuring North America’s top live bison, the NBA also conducted an auction for the carcass entries that were consigned to the Gold Trophy Market Class competition.

            “We know that building bison herds across North America requires building the demand for bison meat. Our Market Class competition highlights the commitment that bison ranchers are making to producing the highest quality, deliciously healthy bison meat,” says Carter.

            Carter adds that the Market Class auction is an opportunity for people in the Denver area to stock their freezers with high quality bison meat.

            “We’ve made it very easy for people to be able to come in and bid on the carcasses, and to have the meat cut and wrapped to their specifications,” he notes.

            The 16 bulls and heifers in the competition were processed on Jan. 23, and judged on the 24th by two experts from USDA’s meat grading service. 

            Part of the judging will be based upon meat and cutting quality analysis conducted by Colorado State University meat specialists.

About NBA

            According to NBA,”In 1995 the American Bison Association, formed in 1975, and the National Buffalo Association, chartered in 1966, merged to become the National Bison Association.”

            The NBA has more than 1,100 members in all 50 states and 10 foreign countries. The NBA is a non-profit association of producers, processors, marketers and bison enthusiasts.

            According to NBA, the vision is to be a community bound by the heritage of the American Bison.

            “The mission of the NBA is to bring together stakeholders to celebrate the heritage of American bison, to educate and to create a sustainable future for our industry,” says NBA.

Ranchers and bison 

            Carter notes bison and ranchers have a long history, with ranchers being largely responsible for their historic restoration. 

            “The bison ranchers and farmers who are reconnecting the public with the great taste and nutritional benefits of bison are heirs to a colorful legacy of bison restoration at the hands of private landowners,” says Carter.

            “Much has been written through the years about the role that conservationists played in pulling bison back from the brink of extinction,” says Carter. “Less known is the role that a handful of individual ranchers played as the 1800s ended. And, even lesser known is the interplay of private and public herds through the first half of the 20th century.”

            He continues, “In the late 1800s, bison were not alone in facing extinction. Species throughout the world were being hunted to extinction.”

            According to Carter, ranchers in the west for 30 years ahead of their counterparts in the East in their attempt to revive the species. The original restoration efforts across the West established what would be the five foundation herds in which virtually all of today’s bison trace back to.

            “Ranchers today work to replicate the ability of bison to demonstrate their natural tendencies as much as possible,” according to NBA. “But ranches have boundaries, and any time an animal is kept within a fenced environment, producers must provide certain interventions to protect the health and welfare of the herd.”

            NBA continues, “Mineral supplementation and deworming practices are just two examples of human interventions that are regularly conducted on bison in all types of production protocols, including most public herds.”

Callie Hanson is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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