Motivated by Progress and Looking to the Future


November 10, 2021

The 54th Northern International Livestock Expo (NILE) Stock Show is in the books. Two local young men, Wylee and Wacee Simenson participated in the Exposition and brought home several awards.

Dedicated to the promotion of livestock, agriculture education, and preserving the western way of life, NILE is a week-long stock show and rodeo held in October every year. This year’s events took place October 15-23 when hundreds of exhibitors from across a region of 38 different states brought their livestock to Billings to show and/or sell. In addition to hosting several national cattle breed shows and sales, NILE has a long standing tradition of exceptional rodeo performances as well as horse shows, sales, and competitions. Over the years, Montana’s NILE Stock Show has developed a reputation for showcasing some of the most influential genetics in the world.

When all the dust had settled on another NILE, the Simensons headed home to Chinook with five awards. Wylee won Grand Champion Angus Futurity and Grand Drive Intermediate Angus Showmanship with his heifer named Reggie. His younger brother Wacee won Reserve Champion Angus Futurity, Reserve Intermediate Division Bred and Owned Female, and Reserve Junior Hereford Showman. In the cattle community a “bred and owned” female, means she’s a heifer Wacee has raised from his own herd. Mercedes is the first calf from the first heifer he purchased.

“NILE week came and went in a flash. We are super proud of how well the boys showed, and four out of the five head that went down there made the backdrop,” remarked the boys’ mother, Tomi Simenson.

Because the back drop is where the champions are photographed, “making the back drop” implies status as either Grand or Reserve Champion. Wylee had the Champion Futurity heifer with the female he bought out of the sale last year with BCC Elba Merrick.

Wylee’s devotion to showing livestock started when he joined 4-H in 2013. Ever since purchasing his first registered Black Angus Heifer, Roxie, from the NILE in 2017, he has been hooked on showing heifers. When asked what inspires him to do the work required to show cattle, Wylie responded quickly, “Winning!” But when prompted to think beyond that possibility, he claimed that working with new cattle and making progress with them so that they can reach their potential motivates him. Although he shows both Angus and Simmental cattle, he prefers the Angus breed.

As for Wacee, he prefers Herefords, claiming that their personality is calmer. “They don’t freak out as much,” he said. Wacee, who purchased his first Angus heifer, Callie, at NILE in 2019, asserts that he derives his motivation from making the heifers “look nicer;” he likes to give them style. According to his mother, Wacee is quite the entertainer and can occasionally be found singing to the heifers and sometimes even dancing.

When asked what advice the boys might give to someone starting out on the cattle show circuit, Wacee responded, “Believe in yourself,” while Wylee stated, “Work hard; play hard.”

Their mother chimed in by saying, “It’s more about finding the right people to support and provide the necessary training. We’ve found a circle of people who have helped us along the way, and we owe a HUGE thanks to everyone in our crews who had the girls looking sharp.”

She went on to explain the purpose of stock shows. “Although competition is part of the purpose, it’s more about showcasing cattle. These shows generate interest in various breeds and help to promote the cattle industry. For example, we have spent some time looking for good, solid females to build our foundation herd on. We have purchased females from some of the biggest breeders in the state of Montana and some from out of state as well. The females on our place have to make some noise in the show ring but be able to come home and be producers as well.

“To go along with the Angus cattle, we have also started a herd of Hereford females with the same goal in mind—to sell high quality heifers for years to come, not only for the show ring but for the pasture. You can find our females for sale at the NILE Angus Female sale held in Billings every October, but if any of these girls are of interest to you, be sure to get a hold of us or come look at them in person at our ranch. We are really excited about the new calves that came home with us, and we’re looking forward to more shows.”

The boys’ next show will be the inaugural Great Northern Livestock Exposition scheduled for November 15-30 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Similar to the NILE, the Great Northern was formed by a small group of ranchers for ranchers. The event is aimed at preserving the nation’s western heritage and giving stock growers from across the country the opportunity to showcase and promote elite genetics.

Other shows on their circuit include the Golden Triangle Livestock Show and State Fair in Great Falls, Winter Fair in Lewistown, and the Black Hills Stock Show in South Dakota.


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