Montana Running Ranchers Complete 190-mile Relay

190 miles. 29 hours 46 minutes. 12 runners. Two vans. One long night.

Those were the makings of a fun, even if exhausting, weekend for the Montana Running Ranchers. The group, consisting of ranching community members from Montana and surrounding states, recently competed at the Ragnar Relay Colorado and finished competitively among teams from across the region.

The Running Ranchers take part in a Ragnar Relay event each year to showcase beef and ranching to running communities who often have questions about agriculture, beef, and many who may have never met a rancher. Of course, the relay events are great fun with runners of all skill levels from many states across the country.

This year’s Ragnar Relay Colorado took place high in the Rocky Mountains. The start line festivities took place at Copper Mountain, where the course looped around Lake Dillion before going over Vail Pass, to Glenwood Springs and back up to Snowmass Village. There were plenty of miles and hills for the crew on the beautiful course that wound through mountain towns and ranching country.

During the event, conversations are easy to spark with vans covered in ranch brands from supporting ranches and infographics describing the significant role beef has in a healthy diet. The team shares beef jerky with runners along the course and is able to leave a positive impression of ranching and beef.

Each year, the Running Ranchers run and compete in races across Montana representing Team Beef, a program funded by the Montana Beef Council, the team’s primary sponsor, showing how beef is part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Many team members have completed half marathon, marathon and even ultramarathon distances of 50 km and 50 miles in 2017.

2017 Montana Running Rancher team members include: Heather Fryer of Hobson; Christy Gerdes of Huntley; Ryan Goodman of Parker, CO; Evelyn Halverson of Big Timber; Billie Jo Holzer of Moccasin; Cory Jassen of Belt; Dustin Ladenburger of Stratton, NE; Jessica Lundgren of Littleton, CO; Robert Majerus of White Sulphur Springs; Ian Morse of Spokane, WA; Sarah Nash of Harlowton; and Ed Rollins of Lone, OR.

The Montana Running Ranchers would like to thank area ranches and agriculture businesses who made this year’s event possible: B Bar M Ranch, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Lincoln County (NE) Feedyard, Meagher County Cattlewomen, Nash Land and Livestock, Ladenburger Farms, Indreland Angus, Bank of Eastern Oregon, Indian Creek Ranch, Follmer Ranch, Earl and Glenna Stucky, Thomas Sparks, Jim and Heather Fryer, Samuel Berg, Gilbert Majerus, Bohleen Cattle Co, Linda Grosskopf, Martin-Morse Livestock, Rance Gerdes, David Dover, Keon and Billie Jo Holzer, Mick and Earline Goettle.

To show your support for the Montana Running Ranchers, follow their running adventures on Facebook by joining the group “Montana Running Ranchers/ Team Beef Montana” or email mtrunningranchers@gmail.com.

If you are interested in joining Team Beef Montana, contact the Montana Beef Council.

L to R: (front) Evelyn Halverson, Heather Fryer, Christy Gerdes, Jessica Lundgren, Billie Jo Holzer. (back) Ian Morse, Cory Jassen, Ryan Goodman, Sarah Nash, Ed Rollins, Robert Majerus, Dustin Ladenburger.

Montana Ranchers Complete 200-mile Relay in Hawaii

12 runners, two vehicles and 200(ish) miles. Each year, the Montana Running Ranchers tackle this journey with a different race in the Ragnar Relay series. 2016’s race took the team to the Hawaiian Islands for a hot and windy race. Despite being short one runner, MRR succeeded and finished in the top 5% out of nearly 300 participating teams from across the country.

To run 200 miles with 11 runners, is no easy feat. Add in tropical moisture, several thousand feet of elevation climb and mid-day heat over fields of black lava rock, and the Ragnar Relay Hawaii proved to be one of the most challenging races completed in recent years for the Montana Running Ranchers.

As usual, the Running Ranchers represented Montana and their ranching communities well. Relay teams from across the country complemented the team’s vehicles (decorated with brands from supporting ranches) and upbeat spirit during the race. Of course, handing out samples of Hi-Country Beef Jerky, aided in bringing smiles to hungry, tired runners throughout the night and into the second day.

This year, the team faced a new challenge by starting at the back of the pack. Ragnar Relay staggers runners, with the slowest teams beginning at 5 a.m. and the fastest team starting at noon. The Running Ranchers were awarded a start time of 11:30 a.m., which meant they were bringing up the rear throughout most of the first third of the course. However, overnight, the team made up much time on slower teams as the course moved into steep climbs on the north side of Hawaii. By sunrise, the team was near middle of the pack and passing slower teams on a frequent basis.

Nearing the finish line, teams found themselves amidst fields of black lava rock in mid-day heat. With temperatures nearing the low-90s, the guys brought the Montana Running Ranchers to the final miles with a finish time of just over 30 hours to place 16th overall.

The journey wasn’t all about escaping early-season snow and running in the tropics for this Montana team. The Ragnar Relays offer a unique opportunity to connect with a few thousand runners and leave positive impressions about beef and ranching. Throughout the journey, several runners approach the team to ask about Team Beef jersey, ranch brands on the vans and inquire about how their food is grown. The ranchers meet vegans, vegetarians and consumers with a variety of diet choices; encounters which almost always are cordial and spark a positive feeling on a sometimes-combative topic.

This year’s team left a piece of Montana on the island after meeting a local rancher who asked to display the Team Beef Montana logo on his stock trailer. Something that will surely spark fun conversation on many future occasions.

The Montana Running Ranchers team consists primarily of ranchers from across Montana. 2016 runners include: Evelyn Halverson from Big Timber, Heather Fryer from Hobson, Christy Pletan from Harlowton, Sarah Nash from Harlowton, Christy Gerdes from Huntley, Billie Jo Holzer from Moccasin, Dustin Ladenburger from Stratton, NE, Ed Rollins from Ione, OR, Robert Majerus from White Sulphur Springs, Ian Morse from Spokane, WA and Ryan Goodman from Helena.

Many thanks go to area ranches and agriculture business supporting the Montana Running Ranchers and their advocacy work throughout the year. Premiere sponsors include: Gold – Montana Beef Council; Silver – Montana Farmers Union; Bronze – Northwest Farm Credit Services, HFM Foodservice, and Hi-Country Beef Jerky; Qualifier – Western Livestock Reporter, Meagher County CattleWomen, B Bar M Ranch, and Nash Land and Livestock; AgriBusiness – Northern Ag Network, VIP Livestock Marketing, Sunshine Apiary, Pioneer Meats, Lincoln County (NE) Feedyard, Bank of Baker, Reilly Insurance, Bank of Eastern Oregon, Heli-Works Flights Services, and Indreland Angus; Ranch Brands – Earl and Glenna Stucky, Casey Coulter, Martin-Morse Livestock, 3C Cattle Co, LJ Switzer Ranch, Public Auction Yards, Wang Ranch, Bev and Ed Fryer, Castle Mountain Ranch, Gilbert and Julie Majerus, Mike and Debbie Hammond, Thomas Sparks, Chris and Tiffanie Labbe, Suze Bohleen, Ross Hansen Ranch, Bridger Creek Ranches, Mick Goettle, and Billie Jo Holzer.

To connect with the Montana Running Ranchers, inquire about joining the team, or submit a sponsorship, visit bit.ly/mtrunningranchers or email mtrunningranchers@gmail.com. Everyone can follow team members’ efforts throughout the year on Facebook by joining the “Montana Running Ranchers/ Team Beef Montana” group.

Team Photo L to R: Heather Fryer, Billie Jo Holzer, Ian Morse, Dustin Ladenburger, Ed Rollins, Christy Pletan, Robert Majerus, Sarah Nash, Evelyn Halverson, Ryan Goodman, Christy Gerdes

Team Photo L to R: Heather Fryer, Billie Jo Holzer, Ian Morse, Dustin Ladenburger, Ed Rollins, Christy Pletan, Robert Majerus, Sarah Nash, Evelyn Halverson, Ryan Goodman, Christy Gerdes

Montana Ranchers Plan for 200-mile Running Event

Running Ranchers

Each year, members of the Montana ranching community lace up their shoes, load up the vans and head out for a run with beef in hand. The group goes with an intention of meeting people from outside the state who have mutual interests in healthy living, the outdoors and running.

The Montana Running Ranchers is a group of 12 members from across the state (and surrounding region) who are passionate about ranching, beef and running. They share their experiences with other runners from across the country; while spreading awareness of Montana’s ranching community and how beef can be an important part of a healthy diet.

Their annual trip involves a 200-mile Ragnar Relay where each runner completes three sections of the course (ranging from 3 to 8 miles), passing the baton to the next runner until the team reaches the finish line nearly 24 hours later. In past years, the team has participated in events located in Oregon, Colorado, Washington and California. This year, the Montana Running Ranchers will join 300 teams of 12 runners in Hawaii.

The Montana Running Ranchers are members of Team Beef, a program administered by the Montana Beef Council. Team Beef helps members “understand and believe in the nutritional benefits of lean beef and the vital role they play in physical training, being healthy and staying active,” as explained on the program website.

The annual event is an opportunity to share a positive message about Montana ranching and beef with others who already express an interest in and dedication to healthy lifestyles, proper nutrition and fitness. Each year the team walks away with numerous stories from conversations where others were able to learn something new about ranchers’ work and lifestyle.

2016 Montana Running Ranchers team members include: Heather Fryer, Hobson; Christy Gerdes; Huntley; Ryan Goodman, Helena; Evelyn Halverson, Big Timber; Billie Jo Holzer, Moccasin; Dustin Ladenburger, Stratton, NE; Robert Majerus, White Sulphur Springs; Sarah Nash, Harlowton; Christy Pletan, Harlowton; and Ed Rollins, Ione, OR. The team is still seeking two male runners to join this year’s event.

You can help support the Montana Running Ranchers as they prepare for their 2016 Ragnar Relay, which takes place October 14-15 in Hawaii. Financial contributions help to provide for race entry fees, rental vans, hotel, food, travel expenses and beef jerky samples which are passed out to other relay participants.

The team has a donation website available at bit.ly/mtrunningranchers. For a $50 sponsorship, ranches can have their brands displayed on team vans during the race. Agribusiness sponsorships are $150 and provide opportunity to have a business name or logo placed on the vans during the race.

Contact Ryan Goodman at (406) 465-4295 or email mtrunningranchers@gmail.com for more information.

Running Ranchers Bring Beef and Fitness to Television

Motnana Running Ranchers Ragnar 2015 VanIt’s been a busy week getting the word out about our Montana Running Ranchers relay team and the Team Beef program. This has included sharing the word in a few different television programs across the state.

On Tuesday, our friends at the Northern Ag Networkwere kind enough to include us in a segment on the Noon News which airs on CBS stations across the state. Lane Nordlund is a great person to work with and has been a great addition to the NAN team during the past year. Read our story on the Northern Ag Network site.

We then had a great opportunity to be featured on the statewide Wake Up Montana morning news, which is broadcast on ABC Fox Montana and KULR (Billings). Stephanie Ponte is a great reporter new to the area, and new to the topics of beef and ranching. There are morning people, then there are folks who are filled with tons of energy and enthusiasm before 6 a.m. It was great to meet Stephanie and we look forward to introducing her to even more Montana ranchers. Thanks for helping us share our story of beef and fitness in the ranching community and how everyone can include beef as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle! Read our story on KULR8.

Next up for many of the relay team members are the Bozeman Marathon and Half Marathon, September 13. Later that week, they’ll also be taking part in the inaugural Montana CattleWomen Ranch Run, a 25 mile relay on ranches in Lennep. We hope you’ll consider showing up, cheering everyone on and possibly even joining the races.

To learn more about the Team Beef Montana program, visit the Montana Beef Council’s website. Go ahead and fill out your application to join the program!

Be sure to follow the Montana Running Ranchers through Facebook! Running these 200-mile relays is so much more than showing up for 27 hours of fun. There are plenty of training runs, ranching adventures and races across Montana that team members participate in. Join the Facebook group, encourage team members and learn more about how beef is part of their training and competition.

Montana Running Ranchers Take Beef Message on 200-Mile Relay

Montana Running Ranchers logoIn the world of running and fitness, challenges are king as obstacle courses and overnight-relay races have gained popularity in recent years by fitness enthusiasts and health-conscious consumers. Montana ranchers are taking part in the fun and using this scene as an opportunity to advocate for beef as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

On July 17 and 18, twelve members of the Montana Running Ranchers relay team took part in the Ragnar Relay Series Northwest Passage race. This event began in Blaine, Washington and covered 200(ish) miles, wrapping up in Langley. The team finished the race in just under 27 hours, placing 26th in the division, out of 354 teams.

This year’s course took the team along iconic sights of the northwest Washington coast. Right from the start near the Canadian border, team members ran in view of the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, Deception Pass and the Puget Sound. The team ran through the night and completed the race on Whidbey Island northwest of Seattle.

The Montana Running Ranchers Relay team consists of members from the state’s ranching community, participating in large relay events outside the state and connecting with beef consumers from across the country. During previous years, the team has traveled to events in Colorado, Napa Valley and the Hood to Coast event in Oregon.

Motnana Running Ranchers Ragnar 2015 VanThe race events provide an opportunity for Montana Running Ranchers to connect with others who have similar interests in health and fitness. The teams vans were decorated in Team Beef logos and brands from area ranches who sponsored the trip. These brands (and steaks) do not go unnoticed by event participants, which often leads to opportunities to answer several questions about beef as part of a healthy diet, Montana’s ranchers and the cattle industry.

This year’s team members include team captain, Aeric Reilly of Great Falls, Ryan Goodman of Helena, Casey Coulter of Brusett, Sarah Nash of Harlowton, Billie Jo Holzer of Moccasin, Christy Gerdes of Huntley, Evelyn Halverson of Big Timber, Rachel Keaster of Belt, Christy Pletan of Harlowton, Rex Reilly of Stanford, and Ronnie Halverson of Big Timber. This year’s team also included an out of state recruit and Montana State alumnus from Ione, Oregon, Ed Rollins.

The team certainly appreciates support of local businesses and Montana ranchers who contribute to the opportunity for this advocacy effort. High Country Snack Foods supplied beef jerky and pemmican for the team to share with runners along the course. A special thank you to Western Ag Reporter for helping promote the team throughout the year.

Montana Running Ranchers Ragnar 2015 Blaine WashingtonBe sure to follow Montana Running Ranchers team members throughout the year as they compete in running events across the state and continue sharing their experiences with runners from outside the agriculture community. Follow the team throughout the year by joining the “Montana Running Ranchers/ Team Beef Montana” group on Facebook.

To learn more about joining Team Beef Montana, a consumer outreach program of the Montana Beef Council, visit montanabeefcouncil.org.

2015 team sponsors included the following Montana ranches and businesses:

  • Montana Beef Council
  • Montana Farmers Union
  • Montana Land Reliance
  • Western Ag Reporter
  • Silveus Insurance Group
  • Stockgrowers
  • U.S. Cattlemens
  • Dick and Cathy Holzer
  • Rance Gerdes
  • Indian Creek Ranch
  • Mick & Earline Gaettle
  • Jerry Jones
  • Earl & Glenda Stucky
  • Deegan Ranch
  • Walborn Cattle Co.
  • Neal & Janice Woldstad
  • John & Jeanne Mohr
  • Redland Red Angus
  • Sharon Livingston
  • Linda Grosskropf
  • Ehlke Herefords
  • Ginger Silvers
  • Mike & Debbie Hammond
  • 3C Cattle Company – Chad and Lacey Sutherlin

CattleWomen Plan Ranch Run for September

Montana CattleWomen Ranch Run LennepMontana CattleWomen are excited to announce their newest promotional and educational program, the CattleWomen’s Ranch Run. Planned by a committee of energetic group of young ranching and running CattleWomen from across Montana, the event will be held on September 19, 2015 starting and concluding in beautiful downtown Lennep, MT.

This event is designed as a 25-mile relay run with up to five members in each team. Runners will pass through three different ranches, which have been owned by the same families for over a century as well as some public land. The goal is to display our ranching lifestyle, the sustainability of well-managed livestock operations and reminding runners that all cattle are grass fed for the majority of their existence.

We have invited Jed and Annie Evjene, this year’s winners of the Environmental Stewardship award to join us and help us in educating the runners. The Collegiate CattleWomen will join us to help with water stations and whatever else may be needed. This should be a great event that will reach out to a different and desired group of consumers.

Consider getting together a team and joining us. Registration can be found online at racemontana.com under CattleWomen’s Ranch Run.

CattleWomen are currently working on a new website. At this point, it is still a work in progress but it is being designed by millennials for millennials and should be much more engaging and informational. We will be asking for beef recipes to showcase as well as your photos and blogs. It should be a great tool with links to our programs and educational information too.

Cascade CattleWomen recently hosted our Mid-Year convention. Speakers included Representative Wendy McKamey who updated us on the recent legislative session, Jeannie Rankin spoke on bio-security with special emphasis on FMD, followed by a presentation on self-defense and concluding with a great tour of historic Great Falls. It was a very well organized and productive meeting, thanks to our hosts.

As always, our local CattleWomen are the backbone of our group. Recently they have hosted and provided meals at educational events in Baker (Temple Grandin and Curt Pate) and Absarokee (Jeannie Rankin). T-Bone CattleWomen are actively involved with Operation Second Chance and Wounded Warriors activities in their area as well. Good job CattleWomen!

Team BEEF Montana: Fuel for the Finish

Montana Beef Council logoBy Lisa Murray, Registered Dietitian, Director of Nutrition – Montana Beef Council

For many Americans, the journey toward better health and active living is an ongoing struggle.  For the 90-plus percent of Americans who love beef, it has been the role and responsibility of the Beef Checkoff Program to explain how to incorporate beef in a healthful diet and lifestyle.  While beef offers sizzle, great flavor and ten essential nutrients (zinc, iron, protein, and B-vitamins to name a few) it is also a healthy way to fuel physical activity.

Research has found that physical activity is more effective when coupled with a protein-rich diet because it helps to maintain muscle mass while losing fat.  A 3-ounce serving of lean beef (about the size of a deck of cards) supplies 25 grams of protein in only 150 calories.  Whether you’re just starting to exercise or you’re a seasoned athlete, the protein and nine other essential nutrients in the more than 30 lean cuts of beef work together to build muscle and keep your body healthy. Following a healthy diet before, during and after exercise helps maximize performance and recovery.

Team Beef Montana members are walking, running, biking, hiking, active billboards for beef.  The team includes athletes, moms, engineers, students, farmers, ranchers, dietitians, researchers, teachers, and healthcare professionals. While their backgrounds may be diverse, their passion is what brings them together: living an active lifestyle and loving beef. Team Beef Montana currently has 55 active members around the state.

What is required to be a Team Beef Montana member? You must eat Beef as part of your healthy active lifestyle (weekend warrior to elite athlete), be a Montana resident and be at least 18 years old.

For more information about Team Beef Montana visit www.montanabeefcouncil.org or you can e-mail Lisa at lisa@montanabeefcouncil.org.

#TeamBeef Montana Runs in Ragnar Relay Napa Valley

Team Beef Montana in California12 runners. 2 vans. 29 straight hours. 205 miles. That’s what culminated last weekend when I joined the Montana Running Ranchers for the Ragnar Relay in California. The race started in San Francisco, continued over the Golden Gate Bridge and through the Napa Valley, ending in the small town of Calistoga. The team consisted of 12 members of the Montana ranching community, most working on family ranches. With 561 teams in the Ragnar Relay, our team finished 28th overall, 17th in the Mixed Open Division.

Montana Running Ranchers, a part of the Team Beef program of Montana Beef Council and partially funded through Checkoff Dollars, participates in a relay race each year in different parts of the country. Our goal is to fuel our passions for running and to share our perspectives on the impact of beef as part of a healthy diet and sustaining a healthy environment. We are able build bridges of conversation with race participants through the mutual interests of running, fitness and health.

My not-so-excited face at the end of my last leg during the race.

My not-so-excited face at the end of my last leg during the race.

This year’s venue was especially impactful as a majority of race participants come from urban areas of the West Coast and Southern California. In fact, we saw no other teams affiliated with a food, nutrition, or agriculture community. Consider that your challenge farmers and ranchers!

The team passed out Montana beef jerky samples and wrapped the vans in Team Beef and Beef Checkoff slogans. I was inspired and surprised at the warm reception for Team Beef. We were asked several times “Why Team Beef?” and people were excited to hear we were all from ranching families. Along the way, my van only encountered one person who turned down a beef jerky sample, saying they were “powered by plants”, but she was still polite and asked several questions about where we came from and what we do.

Team captain, Sarah Nash, is a running veteran who has organized team efforts over the past 5 years. I had the opportunity to catch up with her over the phone to reflect on the trip and team’s impact during the race. That podcast can be found on the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s SoundCloud page.

The 2014 Montana Running Ranchers team consisted of Aeric Reilly, Sarah Nash, Billie Jo Holzer, Stacey Hughes, Evelyn Halverson, Christy Gerdes, Amory Blake, Alex Blake, David Dover, Rachel Keaster, Mike Rydell, and myself (Ryan Goodman).

This was my first trip to the San Francisco and Napa Valley areas of California. We ran through several cities, rural roads, and eventually through the vineyards surrounding Napa. Much of the state is enduring exceptional drought conditions and it was startling to see just how dried-out everything is in the state. The grape growers appear to be doing a great job of conservative water use as everything in the vineyards was brown except for the vines with the use of drip irrigation systems. We certainly hope those portions of the country can receive some much needed rainfall soon.

Team Beef Van

Team Beef isn’t just a onetime gig or specific to Montana. The program is hosted by state Beef Councils across the country and helps to connect those of us who enjoy running, fitness and health with beef consumers who have similar interests, but may not always have the opportunity at first-hand experience with beef cattle. To learn more, visit MontanaBeefCouncil.org and ExploreBeef.org.

Want to support the Montana Running Ranchers in next year’s race? Send me an email at ryan@mtbeef.org.

Ragnar Relay Team Beef