GTSS, NBA Winter Conference Rescheduled to Rapid City

GTSS, NBA Winter Conference Rescheduled to Rapid City


Meeting in special session in October, the National Bison Association Board of Directors approved committee recommendations to reschedule both the Gold Trophy Show & Sale, and the association’s Winter Conference until February 19 – 20, 2021.

Both events to be held in conjunction with the Dakota Territory Buffalo Association’s annual meeting and sale in Rapid City, SD.

In a unanimous vote, the board determined that the annual GTSS would be held at the Rapid City fairgrounds, in conjunction with DTBA’s performance tested yearling heifer auction. Under the agreement developed by the NBA and DTBA, GTSS animals would be transported to the fairgrounds on February 18th, and judged on February 19th

The NBA event will not include any yearling female entries in order not to conflict with DTBA’s performance-tested Girlz Going Wild yearling heifer sale. Animals from the NBA and DTBA will be housed at the Rapid City fairgrounds, but will be sold through a virtual, live-streamed video auction event. 

The NBA board also agreed to adopt a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DTBA to hold a two-day conference on February 19 and 20 at the Ramkota hotel in Rapid City.

The abbreviated conference will include virtual streaming for members who want to participate, but who do not want to attend in person.

The MOU specifies how each organization will share in the expenses and revenue from that meeting. The MOU had been recommended for approval by the NBA Winter Conference Planning Committee.

Following discussion on the issue, the board adopted a motion “to move forward with the Winter Conference Committees recommendation, and approve the Memorandum of Understanding, and that the NBA and its leadership implement appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of attendees.”

Look for details on both events to be announced in the coming weeks.

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Virtual Bison Learning Webinar replaces NBA Summer Conference

Virtual Bison Learning Webinar replaces NBA Summer Conference

The National Bison Association kicked off its inaugural webinar series—in lieu of its postponed 2020 Summer Conference—and now has all three sessions ready for review, free to members only.

The first day of the seminar focuses on the bison marketplace in the age of COVID-19. Eight presenters shared their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities presented by outlets such as Farmer’s Markets, restaurants, grocery stores, food trucks and the internet. People are interested in local foods and increasingly want to buy bison meat, they said. Consumers want to know where their food is coming from and who is producing it.

The second day was filled with information from experienced ranchers on bison management, regenerative soils, production and conservation. Day 3 of NBA’s Virtual Learning seminar provided information from a number of young ranchers on how they got started and are growing their bison herds.

The three webinars, sponsored by Turner Bison Exchange, the 777 Bison Ranch and AgriPrime, are archived in the member’s area of in the Conference Presentation section, where members can view past NBA conference presentations in addition to these.

“Thanks to our sponsors and excellent speakers for sharing their time and expertise, who made this foray into remote learning a huge success!” says NBA Director Dave Carter and Jim Matheson, Assistant Director.

“While we would obviously prefer to meet in person, we hope we were able to exhibit our education and outreach efforts to NBA members who may have not attended a NBA conference before, and hope to see you all in person sooner than later!”

From the National Bison Association,; contact, (303) 292-2833.

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

NBA 2021 Winter Conference—Cancelled

NBA 2021 Winter Conference—Cancelled

NOTICE: NBA 2021 Winter Conference Will Not Take Place in Denver in January – Please stay tuned while we determine the best option for our membership.

“Gold trophy, and our annual meeting are important events, not only for the NBA, but for the bison business,” said Donnis Baggett, president of the National Bison Association.

“The board is working to develop plans in which we can meet these needs safely, while providing an opportunity for members to connect this winter.”

For more information contact Jim Matheson at, or (303) 292-2833,

Bison Show and Sale was planned for Jan 20-23, 2021

  • 1/20 – 1/23/2021 – National Bison Winter Conference—Denver, CO
  • 1/23/2021 – NBA Gold Trophy Show and Sale—Denver.

The National Bison Association recently announced that the National Bison Winter Conference would take place in Denver, Colorado, Jan. 20 to 23, 2021, and at the same time, NBA’s Gold Trophy Show and Sale (GTSS) would be held.

The Gold Trophy (GTSS) is considered the premier bison auction in the US. For nearly 40 years, bison producers have brought their best bison stock to Denver’s National Western Stock Show to show and sell their animals.

“The mission of the Gold Trophy Show and Sale is to create an environment where producers can compete to establish the value of their bison in the current marketplace,” according to the NBA news release.

“The sale features high quality, judged breeding stock as well as top-notch production animals that are sure to perform back at the ranch.

“The GTSS also features its popular Market Class auction, in which the public can come and bid on top quality, all natural bison carcasses to be processed into packaged meat to your specifications.”









Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Thousands on Hand for Annual Buffalo Roundup Sep 24-26

Thousands on Hand for Annual Buffalo Roundup Sep 24-26

On the 55th Annual Buffalo Roundup over 20,512 visitors watched this year while 1,400 head of buffalo headed toward the corrals at Custer State Park. Photo courtesy of Custer State Park.

Thousands on Hand for Annual Buffalo Roundup Sep 24-26

CUSTER, S.D. – Over 20,512 visitors attended the 55th Annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park on Friday morning, Sept. 25, 2020, watching as 60 horseback riders wrangled the herd of 1,400 bison into the corrals for their annual health check.

“It was another perfect Buffalo Roundup weekend in Custer State Park,” said park superintendent Matt Snyder.

“We had three great days of weather, a hot air balloon night glow for the first time ever at the Arts Festival, and we were able to livestream the Roundup to over 100,000 people who could not be here in person to view it.

“All of our bison and riders made it to the corrals safely, so in our eyes the event was a huge success.”

Not only is the roundup a spectacular sight to see, it is also a critical management tool in maintaining a strong and healthy herd.

Visitors dig in at Roundup in two viewing areas starting at 6 am on this hill and the opposite slope, while buffalo are brought around and up the creek. Guests must stay in the viewing areas until the herd is safely in, around noon. Breakfast is available in both viewing areas and a buffalo picnic lunch is sold at the corrals once the buffalo are rounded up. Photo FM Berg.

Custer State Park also hosted its three-day arts festival in conjunction with the Buffalo Roundup. Crowds assembled throughout the celebration to enjoy a variety of entertainment under the big top, educational programs and vendors from all over the country.

Looking two years ahead, Buffalo Roundups will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, and Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

 Custer State Park’s Annual Bison Sale Nov 7

Approximately 400 bison that were sorted at the September Roundup will be sold at the park’s annual auction on Saturday Nov. 7 at 10:00 am Mountain Time, according to Kobee Stalder, Visitor Services Program Manager.

Buyers and spectators from around the United States come to watch and participate in the annual auction. Buffalo are generally purchased to supplement an existing herd, to start a new herd, or to eat. 

The auction will be at the Custer State Park Visitor Center just off Highway 16A, in-person and on the internet. The link will be set up and for the online portion visitors can go to for more information, or contact the park at 605.255.4515 or email

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

New Center of Excellence to Advance Bison Research, Knowledge

New Center of Excellence to Advance Bison Research, Knowledge

Official Logo for the New Center of Excellence to Advance Bison Research at South Dakota State University, Research and Extension facility in Rapid City. Amazing beginning long overdue SDSU.

RAPID CITY, SD (Sept. 8, 2020) – The future of America’s national mammal continued to brighten this week as officials from South Dakota State University (SDSU), the National Bison Association and the National Buffalo Foundation formally launched the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies, to be headquartered at SDSU’s West River Research and Extension facility in Rapid City.

The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture to recognize centers of excellence in research, extension and education in the food and agricultural sciences. The Center of Excellence for Bison Studies will be coordinated through SDSU, but will include active participation by researchers and extension officials from other land grant universities, including 1994 tribal land grant colleges and universities.

The Center will focus on research activities to improve bison herd health and production and the economic viability of both private and tribal bison producers.

Plans for the Center of Excellence began in May 2017 when leaders of the National Buffalo Foundation, the National Bison Association’s Science and Research Committee and Sinte Gleska University convened with SDSU researchers at the main campus in Brookings, South Dakota. Participants at the session agreed on a number of research priorities, but recognized that a coordinated effort was needed to generate the resources to underwrite those initiatives.

“We will be pulling together the leading experts in their fields to help us gain a better understanding of this animal and the ecosystems it lives in, and to develop new resources for the people who raise bison,” said Dr. Kristi Cammack, the newly installed Director for the Center of Excellence.

Dr. Bill Gibbons, director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station at SDSU and Associate Dean for Research, added, “We realized in that 2017 meeting that there were many unanswered questions regarding all aspects of bison, ranging from their role in the landscapes they occupy to their importance in Native American culture to their significance in agriculture. And, we recognized that there are many qualified researchers interested in taking on those projects. What was missing was a unified commitment to bring together the resources to support that research.”

Phil Baird, Provost of Sinte Gleska University in South Dakota, noted, “Bison are once again coming back to Tribal lands across the country. Being a part of the Center will help Tribal managers as they restore both cultural herds and grow Tribal nation-building herds.”

The Center of Excellence represents a significant milestone in the restoration of bison herds to North America, according to Dave Carter, Executive Director of the National Bison Association. “Our knowledge on how best to manage our herds has evolved through a lot of trial and error, supplemented by scattered studies at universities across North America. The Center of Excellence will bring together academicians, ranchers, and Tribal bison managers in a collaborative commitment to help us be better stewards of our herds.”

The National Bison Association’s Science and Research Committee will work closely with the Center’s leadership to identify key research and outreach priorities.

The National Buffalo Foundation, a 501©(3) charitable foundation dedicated to being the major trusted funding source for bison research and education, will embark upon a major fundraising campaign in the coming months to provide the resources to underwrite the Center’s initial research projects. “Having the Center of Excellence in place and with SDSU’s direct involvement, we all see a much broader view of the future of bison, while at the same time opening many fresh opportunities to expand our fundraising initiatives,” said Cecil Miskin, chair of the Foundation.

Kristi Cammackis the new Director for the Center of Excellence, Rapid City. She expects to see a much broader view of the future of bison. Photo SDSU.

Cammack will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Center, under the direction of an 11- member board comprised of SDSU, National Bison Association and National Buffalo Foundation officials, bison ranchers, and tribal representatives. The Center will operate under a formal Memorandum of Agreement that has been established among SDSU, the National Bison Association and the National Buffalo Foundation.

My Personal Note of Thanks to Promoters of the Bison Center of Excellence

Congratulations to all who worked so hard to bring about the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies. Especially the National Bison Association and the National Buffalo Foundation for helping steer this idea to fruition.

 South Dakota State University stepped up to the plate to fill this dire need and has announced the formal launching of the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies—to be headquartered at SDSU’s West River Research and Extension facility in Rapid City, SD.

Many thanks SDSU!

It has been all too obvious for too long that bison research was missing. It should have been easy, practically a no-brainer. Yet it took three years to launch this improvement on what Dave Carter of the National Bison Association has generously called “trial and error and scattered studies.”

I feel sure that researchers will look back in amazement in coming years. Surely, no other livestock business has been so sadly neglected by the extension service and land grant colleges. Perhaps there’ll even be a 4-H project someday—as are goats and even ducks and geese.

As a former county extension agent, I can only say I was simply shocked . . . shocked upon discovering the lack of bison research—almost alone among livestock species. Nearly every state has multiple cattle and sheep specialists, and practically does cattle research on top of other cattle research. Even beginning 4-Hers know where to ask if they have a tough question.

But not bison ranchers. Bison ranchers are literally on their own to experiment with “trial and error,” as Carter put it, to find out what might work. They visit successful buffalo ranchers and help each other.

Their several organizations put on valuable grassroot workshops taught by their peers. Can you believe that bison associations request research funds from their members?

Research costs money but there’s been almost nothing there for bison ranchers, while land grant colleges offer extensive research funds for other livestock businesses, chickens and even goats. Now surely someone will find funds for bison.

Congratulations everyone who has worked on this—and who will see that there is solid bison research coming together in the future. Best wishes to Dr. Kristi Cammack, newly installed Director. An amazing beginning, long overdue!!

Francie M. Berg, MS                       

Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

Bison Events in October and November 2020

Bison Events in October and November 2020

Note: Most events are virtual/ online.

Brownotter Buffalo Ranch Annual Production Sale – Bullhead, SD

Bull calves, average 464 pounds. Photo courtesy Brownotter.

Yearling heifers. Photo courtesy Brownotter. November 16, 2020

Brownotter Buffalo Ranch Annual Production Sale—Selling 400+. Bison Ranch located near Bullhead SD – SE of McIntosh SD. Selling by online method of bidding—bidding closes Monday, November 16, 2020. Selling entire 2020 calf crop. These quality calves will be weighed and sold in lots to suit buyers. Contact Ron & Carol Brownotter for inspection prior to the auction at 605-848-2623. This top performing herd runs on an abundance of native grass, truly in the heart of Buffalo country!


Texas Bison Association Fall Meeting/Ranch Tour – Bryan, TX

October 17, 2020

10/17/2020 – Texas Bison Association Fall Meeting/Ranch Tour – Bryan, TX. A virtual meeting. More information at  

55th Annual Custer State Park Fall Classic Bison Auction – Custer, SD

November 7, 2020

55th Annual Custer State Park Fall Classic Bison Auction – Custer, SD Details at

Coyote Trail Buffalo Annual Production Auction – Onaka, SD

November 21, 2020

Coyote Trail Buffalo Annual Production Auction – Onaka, SD

Minnesota Bison Association’s Legends of the Fall Auction

November 27, 2020

Minnesota Bison Association’s Legends of the Fall, taking place November 27-28 in Albany, MN.


Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

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