2014 Michigan BISON BASH & Educational Series!
A popular gathering to celebrate all things buffalo will be revived this weekend. The Michigan Bison Bash, formerly known as the Buffalo Bash, will return to the former Romanik's Ranch on Saturday. The farm, now named New Beginnings Ranch, has been purchased by Kevin and Kimba MacRitchie, who have combined operations with the locally-based Midwest Buffalo Company with plans to eventually be among the largest ranches on earth breeding, selling and serving buffalo to customers year-round. The event, which was last held in 2005, drew a crowd of 1,300 people that year. This year, organizers are trying to rebuild the celebration. Gates will open at 10 a.m. Although this year's event will be held in conjunction with the Michigan Bison Association's fall meeting, the party is open to the public and will even include an educational series for both members and anyone in the general public who is interested in learning more about getting started in the buffalo industry. The conference agenda will start at 11 a.m. With topics geared toward bison and cattle producers, sessions will cover a variety of topics, including a presentation by National Bison Executive Director Dave Carter on the bison industry across America; a discussion on building food co-ops, agri-tourism and Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPs) by the Michigan Department of Agriculture; a talk on bison veterinary medicine focusing on the biggest areas of concern for producers by Dr. James Sikarskie; a program on ranch finance and bookkeeping for profitability; a presentation on ranch insurance and liability; a program sharing the latest in tractors, baling and other equipment needs by equipment and implement dealers; a talk on how to best partner with producers by slaughter and packing house representatives; a presentation on how to best purchase and store hay by local hay producers; and an overview on how to get started in the bison business for potential producers. U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek will also speak at the event. In addition to the educational series, there will be many other activities for the whole family, including Bounce Houses for kids; mechanical bull rides; a beer and wine tent offered by the Cheboygan Jaycees; vendor booths and exhibits; food, including buffalo-based dishes; and live music and dancing all day and evening. One of the highlights of the event will be ranch tours, in which the public can see the buffalo up close. Public tours will start at noon. Admission to the Bison Bash is $10 per person, which includes food, wagon tours, bands, Bounce Houses and more, with the exception of alcohol. New Beginnings Ranch is at 10637 Weadock Road, Levering. If coming off I-75, take exit 326, then go south on Weadock Road.
Thank You to Our Bison Bash Sponsors