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.

IMG_1913The 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.

Be 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

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Thank to the team for letting me help share the story of our event! Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll share more about my experience on the relay!

2015 team sponsors include 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