This week, the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) is underway in Billings and through the years, the NILE has always been a show with some of the purest and most influential livestock genetics in the world.
But the NILE has also gained recognition for helping young people get a start in the livestock industry.
“It’s really fun because you get to learn new things” said Chael Roberts of Roberts Cattle from Absarokee. “I’ve always really liked to just be around cows.”
For over 50 years, the NILE has helped to preserve the western way of life. It’s also invested in the next generation like nine-year old Chael, who loves coming to the NILE and learning about livestock showmanship.
“Getting to go in the show ring, washing, blowing, and getting to do it with my family,” said Chael.
The NILE is in the Roberts family blood as Chael’s father Jeremy also showed cattle at the NILE as a kid and still does.
“I grew up showing steers,” said Jeremy. “I’ve probably come to the NILE for 25 years and I don’t know if I’ve missed one. Maybe I didn’t always have cattle here but if I didn’t I was helping somebody else.”
Now as a parent, he said it’s really special for he and his wife Kate to watch Chael follow in their footsteps.
“It makes you feel good,” said Jeremy. “You see the passion and the try and all the little things you try to teach them every day like honesty, integrity, hard work, get out of bed in the morning and go to bed at night so you can roll out. To see them happy and smile that they’ve done well. To get paid off for their work makes it all worth it.”
Chael said he appreciates the time he spends with his parents.
“The best part of hanging out with them is being able to do hands on things,” he said.
Jeremy added it’s events like the NILE that also teach his son valuable life lessons.
“You have to learn how to talk to people,” said Roberts. “Look at them, shake their hand, be honest, tell them the truth, work hard, and do what you say.”
As for the future, Chael wants to continue to show cattle and someday own his own ranch. He also said people both young and old need to appreciate farmers and ranchers and where their food comes from.
“Then you’re more thankful for it. Because you know what you’ve done to produce the food and know where it’s coming from,” he said.
It’s stories like this that only reinforce the NILE’s mission of educating the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
To learn more about the NILE and its many opportunities for youth, visit its website.
-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News