Highland Cows are being raised in the Hills of Big Timber

The Vollum family moved here from Portland Oregon and have never looked back.  They enjoy the property they purchased in the hills of Big Timber where they are raising Highlanders and Herefords.

Being new to the cattle world, keeping bulls, steers, cows and heifers straight is confusing. Even though I once thought that “cow” was a blanket term used for all cattle in all situations, I have begun to catch on quickly to the correct terminology.

Although records on Highland cattle first brought to this country from Scotland are rather obscure, due to the fact that there was no registry for them, we know there were small importations, made from time to time. Highland cattle may have been brought to the east coast states in the 1920s.

The Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish Highlands. The extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection, where only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed.

Highland cattle provide the opportunity to produce a premium quality beef with less cost and effort. They fit into a variety of operation styles, from the small farm to large commercial beef operations.

Highland Cows are being raised in the hills of Big Timber
Highland Cows are being raised in the hills of Big Timber.

 

A prize winning bull will grow their herd.
A prize-winning bull will grow their herd.

 

This is Nelly
This is Nelly

 

The owner can hand feed them as they seem friendly.
The owner can feed them by hand as they seem friendly.

 

When visitors arrive they come when called. After meeting each of them they headed back to the hay.
When visitors arrive they come when called.  After meeting each of them it was time for them to head back to lunch.

 

Big Timber July 4th Parade

One of the most celebrated events, the traditional 4th of July Parade follows a route through historic downtown Big Timber. Horses, floats, marching bands, and classic cars highlight the annual event which draws crowds in the hundreds to the Main Street shopping district.

The parade begins with a welcome from the local bank.
The parade begins with a welcome from the local bank.
and continues with a Mule drawn wagon.
and continues with a Mule drawn wagon.
See the class of 1966, this float carries folks who graduated from High School 50 years ago.
See the class of 1966, this float carries folks who graduated from High School 50 years ago.
The parade continues with lots of excitement from the crowd.
The parade continues with lots of excitement from the crowd.
As the parade comes to an end we see one last float ....
As the parade comes to an end we see one last float ….

 

A float carrying a wedding party as everyone get to join in on the excitment.
A float carrying a wedding party as everyone get to join in on the excitment.
The father of the bride gives his daughter to her groom.
The father of the bride gives his daughter to her groom.

 

 

Big Timber Rodeo

If you want to experience a piece of authentic Montana and have a good time, head to a local rodeo like the one in Big Timber.  As a spectator, you can reminisce of times long ago and the tradition of the cowboy that lives on in Big Timber Montana. You’ll feel the raw emotion and marvel at the athleticism and passion in every event.

Cowboys, Cowgirls, Cattle, Horses, Sweat, Dirt, Mud, Blood and Guts.  In a word, rodeo, no other spectator sport comes as close to the real-world hardships and triumphs of working people.  The people have spoken, and there are 30 million rodeo fans in the United States, according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

Roping calves, racing barrels and taming wild horses and bulls are common job duties that naturally lend themselves to the rodeo. A love of animals is also commonplace. Ranchers and rodeo performers alike know how to read animals and often can predict their behavior.

What I found at the Big Timber Rodeo was like all sports, you have to train. But in rodeo, training is just the beginning. Then there’s the equipment.  First, there’s the truck and horse trailer. Then there’s the horse. And you’ve got to get a really good horse. That doesn’t even count the clothing, the food or the gas. And even after you’ve bought all of that, you still have to pay to get into the rodeo.  I found dedicated people to a sport that has deep roots in Montana and the Big Timber Rodeo was no exception.

Big Timber Rodeo Opening Ceremony
Big Timber Rodeo Opening Ceremony
From the bronc riders.......
From the bronc riders…….
To the kids playing in the parking lot.......
To the kids playing in the parking lot…….
The children took their turn at riding the sheep.
and taking their turn at riding the sheep, everyone had a great time.

 

 

 

 

 

The adults watched over the kids carely as they took their turn on a bronc.
The adults watched over the kids as they took their turn on a bronc.
The crowd saw lots of action.
The crowd saw lots of action.
Everyone took a turn.
Everyone took a turn.
There were cowboys who helped get the broncs ready.......
There were cowboys who helped get the broncs ready…….
Even when the horses got jittery waiting their turn.
Even when the horses got jittery waiting their turn.
and watched as each rider got tossed from their mount......
and watched as each rider got tossed from their mount……
It was a busy day for all......
It was a busy day for all……

Sons of Norway

The mission of the Sons of Norway is to promote and to preserve the heritage & culture of Norway, to celebrate its relationship with other Nordic Countries, and to provide quality insurance and financial products to its members.  Over time, the mission of Sons of Norway has expanded to include the preservation of Norwegian heritage and culture in our Society.

Today I had the chance to join in on a celebration of the Sons of Norway in Big Timber.  One of the items on the table for sampling was Lefse, a thin potato pancake.  This was cooked on the griddle until bubbles formed and each side was browned.  The lefse was then placed on a damp towel to cool slightly before serving. YUM

Common recipes and items used by the Norwegein household.

 

John Hoiland entertained the crowd by playing the accordion.
Everyone joined in to enjoy the food and entertainment.
The recipes and how to prepare many Norwegian foods.
The recipes and how to prepare many Norwegian foods. 
Traveling over the West Boulder on our way to the Sons of Norway Celebration.

Dan and Ann Vollum

Dan and Ann Vollum’s Highlander Ranch  sits just outside of Big Timber atop a hill that overlooks the road from Big Timber to Mcleod. I had the chance to spend the day photographing them branding a new load of cows they picked up in Billings.

Ann Vollum with a ranch hand
Ann Vollum with a ranch hand watching while the cows are brought in
View from the top of the Highlander Rancher
The view from the yard at the Highlander Ranch
The ranch hands oversee the branding
The ranch hands over see the branding process
Dan Vollum
Dan Vollum and Trevor brand and give vaccinations to each cow.

Big Timber Grand Hotel

Built in 1890 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Grand Hotel has been restored to her original dignity.  This is Montana’s finest cuisine in The Grand tradition, you can stay the night in their beautiful turn of the century decorated rooms, or have a beverage at the 1890 saloon.

The Grand Hotel 1890 Bar
The Grand Hotel 1890 Bar

The Grand Hotel Restaurant serves locally raised beef and lamb and fresh seafood flown in daily, which our acclaimed chef Amy, prepares to world accolades.

Amy
Amy

There is wonderful lore that makes the downtown Grand Hotel a rich part of Montana’s heritage.  There’s the tale of the desperado, who after being shot in a gunfight underwent emergency surgery on the hotel’s pool table. There were many handshake land deals brokered by cattlemen in the bar. And there was a Chinese laundry in the basement that some say is still haunted.

The Grand Hotel in Big Timber
The Grand Hotel in Big Timber

 

 

Big Timber Hospitality Center

The first Saturday of the month at the Hospitality House Senior Center there is a Jam Session and potluck.  Everyone is welcome and dancing and music is played from 2pm to 6.  The senior center swings into spring with food and fun and you don’t have to be a senior citizen to eat or join in the activities.

Join in the fun at Hospitality House every first Saturday of the Month.
Hospitality House
John Hoiland Joins the group on the accordion
Big Timber. June 4. 3
Al First plays the rhythm guitar
Hospitality House
Steve and Cheryl Rickard join in
Hospitality House
John Hoiland Plays the accordion and the piano at the same time.
Hospitality House
Alberta Wood is 91 and she plays the fiddle
Hospitality House
Dancing Partners Forest and Selma Gibby
Big Timber. June 4. 8
The Kazoo was played by Gordon Sargent.
Hospitality House
The slide guitar was played by Tom Hensel
Hospitality House
Gary Ferguson sang and played the guitar
Hospitality House
Shirley & Durell Johnson; Forest and Selma Gibby; Dallas Roots & Helen Pedela

 

Big Timber and Lunch with Harold Wilcoxson and friends

I had an appointment today to meet Harold Wilcoxson and his fiends at the Grand for lunch.  Harold is 93 and lives in the same house he was born in, in Livingston Montana.  Harold also runs the Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream Company.  His friends, Dr. L.M. Basket, was a physician in Livingston for over 60 years, Doug Grieve was Harold’s plant manager for over 50 years.  But the most interesting part of our lunch conversation was how Harold, Doug, Dean, Randy and Dale met in Livingston in the late 50’s and how each of them had a race car.  Yes, the common denominator here was what car and who was driving the fastest as they raced the streets of Livingston, Montana.  They spoke of a Mustang Mack 1 and how it never beat the 1970 Chevy Chevelle that had a 454 engine and 450 horse power.

Then in 1966 they all took up drag strip racing and this took place in Belgrade, Montana and to this day Doug Grieve is racing the Salt Flats of Utah at the age of 74.

This was a fun afternoon and here are some images of Harold and his 2014 Porsche Ceyenne Turbo S one of three porsche’s he owns.

Harold, Doug, Dean, Randy, Dale and Dr. Basket
Harold, Doug, Dean, Randy, Dale and Dr. Basket
Harold Wilcoxson.
Harold Wilcoxson.
Everyone piles into Harold's Porsche after a great lunch at the Grand.
Everyone piles into Harold’s Porsche after a great lunch at the Grand.

Big Timber on Memorial Day

I spent the day at the Big Timber Museum meeting lots of locals and hearing some amazing stories.  I did get a minute to take a few images that will give you an idea how Memorial Day is celebrated here in Big Timber.

Music, food and lots of fun at the Big Timber Museum.
Music, food and lots of fun at the Big Timber Museum.
Flags of soldiers who lost their lives in battle hang as you enter the Big Timber Cemetery.
Flags of soldiers who lost their lives in battle hang as you enter the Big Timber Cemetery.