Preserving and Embracing the Western Lifestyle
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The Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) is 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. Hundreds of exhibitors from across the region (38 different states) bring livestock to show and sell. Hundreds of horses are also competed on and sold that week. The NILE has a long standing tradition of top notch rodeo performances.
NILE also operates the Montana Agri-Trade Exposition (MATE) held in February each year. This trade show celebrates farming and ranching and the businesses the help make those operations work.
Before the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) became an association the NILE hosted an invitational bull riding in April of 1992, ever since then NILE celebrates the tough determination of cowboys through this event.
The NILE is a non-profit,membership organization 501(c)3. Please join us in preserving and embracing the western way of life.


NILE and all of its moving parts. If you’ve ever walked through the barns or across the grounds during the stock show and rodeo you understand the chaos. There’s a lot of moving parts. It’s surprising that we don’t offer a cat showmanship class because it sometimes feels like the staff is herding cats. There’s cattle, and lambs, and pigs, and goats, and show horses, and rodeo horses, and bucking horses, and 4-her’s, and FFA-ers, and their moms, and announcers, and auctioneers, and judges, and how about those volunteers, and vendors, and visitors, and media, and that one guy, and of course the interns, to move cohesively, seamlessly, simultaneously. Oh my! Talk about a lot going on at once. You get it; there’s a ton of activity the third week of October, but did you know about everything else we do?

We’re not just a stock show and rodeo. Sure, it is a proud, big part of our organization but we can also clean up quite nicely! High heels and hats get dusted off for Stetsons and Stilettos, our annual fundraiser. It actually falls under the jurisdiction of the NILE Foundation, a separate organization that has a different tax ID that allows us to have an endowment fund and accepts donations more effectively. The NILE Foundation has its own board of directors, and its own bank account where the scholarship money comes from. Did you know we also give away FREE heifers?! That’s right, 100% no-money, free heifers are given to approximately 20 kids through our Merit Heifer Program. Starting out in Agriculture can be tough, but we must involve the next generation. This is one way that we meet our mission. We facilitate getting young farmers and ranchers a head start in the cattle industry. We’re a year-round organization, yes our biggest event is in the Fall, but trust us, we’re busy all twelve months. The MATE show (not a speed dating event), is our left hand if NILE is our right hand. The Montana Agri-Trade Exposition is our second largest, attendance wise, event and we love it! Bringing the latest technology and the trusted equipment in farming and ranching to the region is an honor. The three-day trade show is in February every year. The NILE purchased the MATE in ‘08 and we haven’t looked back since! Also in the spring we have the Century Dinner, Professional Bull Riding, and we usually take a day to go golfing. The history of the Century Dinner is best told in person from someone who has attended it many years, and may have had a headache the next day a couple of times. Track down one of our board members if you just gotta know what it’s all about. In 1993, a great opportunity bucked out of the chutes. An event with ONLY bull riding was brought to Billings. We had bull riding before it was cool. Shortly after our Bull Riding Only invitational the PBR became an organization and we became one of their oldest tour stops every April. We do a lot of business and we’re pretty serious about what we do... but there’s an occasional fun day. Many of our board members are bankers, and it’s widely known that to be hired as a banker you have to golf. Anyway, due to this, we take a day to hit the green and chat. It’s an opportunity for the board, members, and staff to talk outside of a meeting. It’s a chance to visit and build relationships. We also do that at our annual summer picnic. This is for the whole family, and we highly encourage that the kids get drug along too! Potluck style ties us back to the original idea behind the NILE being a membership organization. We finish every year with the Christmas party, including the infamous white elephant gift exchange tradition. We gather like-minded people for fun and to accomplish amazing things together. That’s just a short and sweet snapshot of everything we do.

As a member of the NILE, you have a standing invitation to all of it. We would love to see you, your family, and your neighbors attend all of our events. Give the office a call or visit to find out how to get more involved.

How it works: There’s two boards, no, not wooden ones. The NILE is a 501(c)5 nonprofit, and the NILE Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. NILE is governed by 22 individuals, each director has a term of three years, and must be a member for two years before being eligible to be on the board. There’s a president, president-elect, vice president, and secretary/treasurer--each of their terms is two years. The NILE Foundation is overseen by seven individuals, they meet quarterly. Below the boards are committees. They get things done! Without them the events wouldn’t be successful. Jump in and join one of the many committees: 4th Grade Ag Ed, Breeding Cattle, Budget, Hospitality, Horse, Jr. Fed, Membership, Rodeo, Stetsons & Stilettos. Of course, we can’t forget the staff, it’s a small but mighty group of women who passionately pursue the direction of the directors. Jennifer Boka is the General Manager; she’s been with the NILE since 2014. Monica Cellmer is the master of keeping track of things; she tracks the money, members, contracts, and the sticky notes. She’s seen a lot throughout her 24 years. Traci Marchwinski manages the MATE show like nobody’s business! She’s the best in the trade show business and she came too with the purchase of the MATE. She also oversees the NILE Trading Post. She’s been building relationships with vendors since 2004 and been a part of the NILE team since 2008. Shelby Shaw has been involved with the NILE ever since she was big enough to show cattle. We call her the unofficial poster child because she was a Merit Heifer recipient, Scholarship recipient, intern, volunteer and now works for NILE. Shelby puts together all of the livestock shows, and youth programs. If you want scholarship money--she’s the one to talk to. McCall Linke is an import from Colorado, but like her in spite of that. McCall runs the horse events, ranch rodeo, and is the one behind all the clever Facebook posts. These five are the year-round full-timers. We also have part-timers that we love whole-heartedly. Those who help us out during our busiest times are truly treasured. Our partnership with Vintage Five gives us Bo and Monica, helping with production and promotion. Got a question? Call the office, we promise we’ll only tease you a little. (406) 256-2495

Perks and Responsibilities
Because the NILE is a membership organization (that means YOU), there are certain benefits of paying your dues. However, there’s also a few business items that you’re responsible for too. We’ll save the perks for later, just like dessert. YOU have the power to elect and re-elect the board of directors for the NILE. Elections and updates happen at the Annual Meeting. Be informed about YOUR membership, learn about the NILE’s economic impact, the budget, and our plans for this year and beyond. This is also when the board of directors is elected and re-elected. We’ll also give awards for members who have stuck with us for 5, 10, 30 or more years. We’ll announce our Friend of the NILE, and Volunteer of the NILE awards. Now let’s talk about the fun stuff! What do you get for being a member? One perk is the food! Trust us, we know how to have fun. At every single one of our event there’s drinks (water too, get your head out of the gutter). Each night before the rodeo performances and PBR performances we have a hospitality room. NILE members have exclusive entrance into the hospitality room. You get a great meal, drinks, visit with your NILE pals, catch a glimpse of rodeo stars, and potentially win money in a calcutta. Depending on your level of membership you also have the opportunity to advertise. Think about the number of eye balls at our events--that’s pretty powerful in marketing. Get your business message in the rodeo program, day sheets, premium book horse sale catalog, signs in the arena, and more! Most importantly, your membership is a commitment to help us preserve and embrace the western way of life.
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