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The National Bison Association January 2023 Winter Conference .... (a bit late!)
This is the unofficial version of events, starting off with the Tuesday, January 17, 2003 arrival of so many long time friends and bison ranchers I have not seen in 2 plus years. You, my friends, are all welcome to attend next year .. or the NBA summer conference …. if you have any interest is getting to know some of the finest people in the world, who just happen to raise bison.
The Durham Ranch bunch, the 777 crew, the board of the National Buffalo Foundation ….Stanley Harper and family – Harper Cattle and Buffalo Company, one of the grandest of the so many grand members of our bison ranching community. You might not recognize them … but they are the heart and soul of the bison survival/revival into the next century; really!
Ron and Theresa finished their drive to Denver from Weatherford Texas (I flew… ha ha). We all Uber’d to Tocabe (https://www.tocabe.com/). This Native American restaurant is without question a remarkable presenter of bison cookery. The mainstay bison ribs in berry glaze was not available, but the shredded bison on fry bread, topped with posole, sweet corn, seed mix, roasted green chilis was …. Oh, you just have to go! Desert wojapi cup; a fermented berry blend. It is so good!.
Wednesday, Jan. 18th started with a very educational “Mentoring” session. There, bison newbies and wannabees get made comfortable while gaining access to the wealth of experience that the long time rancher/raiser/members have to share. And share they do. It was also set up day for the trade show, of which The Buffalo Wool Co was a central part. Over 35 vendors, with everything from bison handling equipment and ranch insurance; bison and western art, clothing. …. and of course, BWC bison socks by the bucketload.
Wednesday night’s social gathering was put on by the two Bison industry Foundations (the National Buffalo Foundation -https://www.nationalbuffalofoundation.org - the 501c(3) arm of the association and the Throlson American Bison Educational Foundation).
Four – count them – 4 steamship rounds of bison, perfectly roasted; bison meatballs, kabobs, bison wieners wrapped in bacon; shredded bison tacos. Being the first year back at the Weston Westminster in the last 12, the chef really cooked each offering to perfection. Not overdone, not over seasoned, just what everyone wanted … whether medium, medium rare or very rare (our choice, of course) … but what a feast. Whiskey provided by the Colorado Indy Distillers Association. Some great small batch alcohol;
Thursday night is the fund raising “fun” auction that uses all donated bison and similar stuff to help fund the National Bison Association, The National Buffalo Foundation and the Throlson Foundation. Best ever! That included selling one our very special pencil sketch bison pieces that I received from a great guy who passed way too young – Dale Dilly of Del Norte Colorado. Dale use to haul bison, including some to us in Texas way back when we were starting. He would often crash on our couch just to save motel bills.
So, this piece…. Not that much to look at, but with huge sentimental value to those who knew Dale, sold for $9,000. The proceeds of the sale were dedicated (at my request) to the “Buffalaros”, the group of buys and gals that handle and take care of the bison considned to the Saturday sale. They are housed in corrals at the National Western Show grounds in Denver. They need, first, to be moved to their proper pen; watered, hayed; re-watered; re-hayed … eventually moved throught the sale ring/live auction and then back to holding areas where their new owners can eventually have them loaded for a journey home. Another blog will give more on the buffalraos. Dale was the first National bison Association “Buffalaro”. His little brother, Billy Joe Dilly, is now the longest serving of the group. The two gents who bid against each other raising the price to probably 10 times what I thought it might bring… in my wildest dream … gave the picture to Billy Joe. And the cash went to the Buffalaros. Billy Joe is in the black vest!
OK .. enough excitement. I’ll do one more on the show before I move on to my South Dakota adenture .. Stay tuned.