about & history
The Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the livestock industry, agriculture education, and preserving the western way of life. The premiere event of the NILE is a week-long stock show and rodeo held in October each year. Hundreds of exhibitors from across the United States and Canada bring livestock to Billings, Montana to show and sell at the NILE. In addition to the cattle shows and sales, top-quality horses are shown in a wide variety of events. Some of the best horses in the region are carefully vetted and later sold at the NILE Gold Buckle Select Horse Sale. Education plays a major role in the NILE with junior livestock and horse shows, youth livestock and horse judging contests, and three days of 4th Grade Ag Education events. The NILE has a long-standing tradition of top-notch rodeo performances with a wildly popular Ranch Rodeo and three nights of PRCA Rodeo action.
The NILE also presents the Montana Agri-Trade Exposition (MATE) and Home and Health Expo held in February each year. The MATE show features exhibits and demonstrations of the latest products and technologies in farming and ranching. The Home and Health Expo is a great place to go find the newest in home and health goods and services. Both shows are held concurrently on the MetraPark grounds in Billings and are free to attend.
The NILE is a 501(c)5 organization funded by individual and corporate memberships as well as the sponsorship of many local businesses. If you would like to join us in our mission of preserving and embracing the western way of life, please go to our membership page for more information.
In 1966 the livestock committee of the Billings Chamber of Commerce began discussing hosting an event that would showcase the region’s vast livestock industry and in 1967 hosted the first event at the Public Auction Yards in Billings. By the fall of 1968, a full-fledged livestock show with 250 exhibitors and 600 entries was underway. The first Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) included livestock shows, horse shows, and a rodeo—and today those traditions continue as the NILE Stock Show and ProRodeo has become one of the largest agricultural events of the Northwest.
The NILE Stock Show has a long history of having some of the purest and most influential cattle genetics in the world and is host to several cattle breed shows and sales. In addition to breed shows, the NILE has one of the most robust youth shows in the country that includes junior beef, sheep, swine and goat shows as well as junior fed and club calf sales. The NILE also hosts open and AQHA horse shows, six different futurities, and the Gold Buckle Select Horse Sale featuring over 100 carefully vetted weanlings, yearlings and performance horses.
The history of the NILE is closely intertwined with Montana’s rodeo heritage and has grown to be one of the state’s most prestigious fall rodeo events. Today the NILE ProRodeo is a sanctioned PRCA event that spans three nights that in addition to great action in the arena, recognizes high school rodeo athletes, veterans, first responders and breast cancer survivors.
In 2006, the NILE added a Ranch Rodeo to their fall event. The essence of this event, displaying real American ranch cowboys and their unique skills, quickly gained popularity. In 2009 the NILE Ranch Rodeo Finals was established in which winning teams from NILE sanctioned Ranch Rodeos from across the region came to compete for the top honor of being the NILE series champion team. The event again changed in 2022 with the NILE hosting their own preliminary round of 33 local ranch teams with the top 10 gaining the right to compete in the Final round.
Since the NILE’s inception, it has expanded to incorporate a variety of other events. The NILE was the first to host the elite Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Series. Held each year in April in Billings, 2023 will mark the 30th year of this NILE/PBR partnership. Another expansion came in 2008 when the NILE purchased the Montana Agri-Trade Exposition (MATE Show) – a trade show to showcase the latest in farming and ranching innovations. The show was later expanded to include the non-ag community with the addition of the Home and Health Expo. Both shows are held concurrently each February in Billings.
Today the NILE is funded much the way it was funded in 1967 – through memberships from individuals, businesses, and other supporters as well as sponsorships from corporate partners. For over 50 years the NILE has continued its dedication to the promotion of the livestock industry, agricultural education and respect for our western tradition. We believe that these values are as important now as they were in the beginning and critical to the future of agriculture. We invite you to join us if you share those same values.