The Mile High City will host the country's largest forum on America's most majestic icon, when the National Bison Association (NBA) holds its sixth annual Winter Conference, Jan. 18 through Jan. 22, at the Holiday Inn DIA, in Denver.

This five-day event will feature a wealth of educational seminars, guest speakers and exhibits focused on prominent issues and products within the exploding bison industry.

The NBA welcomes bison enthusiasts to become members. On-site registration for new members will take place at the Holiday Inn during the conference at the following times: Tuesday, Jan. 18, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, Jan. 19, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, Jan. 20, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, Jan. 21, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For new members interested in starting a bison ranch, promoting bison or establishing networking opportunities, the NBA Winter Conference offers a wide spectrum of business-focused seminars which include:

--Bison Restoration in Indian Reservations into the New Millennium, presented by Louie LaRose, president of the Intertribal Bison Cooperative and project director of the Northern Plains Bison Education Network.

--Low Stress Animal Handling; Controlled Grazing--From Here to There and Back Again, presented by Dr. Burt Smith, author and the University of Hawaii pasture and livestock specialist. During his presentation on Low Stress Animal Handling, Dr. Smith will show evidence that stress among the bison population can affect the quality of meat, and consequently have economic significance. He will illustrate the range of bison handling techniques, and highlight areas where improvement is needed.

In Controlled Grazing--From Here to There and Back Again, Dr. Smith will briefly outline the basic principles of controlled grazing, and present the application of these principles in a simple manner for greater understanding.

--Hunting of the Western Bison, presented by Joe Brandl, Western Historian and owner of Absaroka Western Designs and Tannery. Brandl will present an overview of the history of Western bison hunting, interjected with humor and true life experience, using a variety of authentic weapons, tools, clothing and other items made of bison as an overview.

Ken Childs, Star B Ranches, will be the judge for the 2001 Gold Trophy Show and Sale. Star B Ranch Ramona, CA, was established in 1979 and has evolved into one of the leading bison ranches in the country, having won many trophies for excellent breeding stock, including the 1989 overall grand champion Gold Trophy Show animal. Childs has judged for the Black Hills Buffalo Classic and the Northwest Show and Sale. He is currently the driving force behind the new Western Bison Association and its first stock sale.

The educational Turn 'n Learn sessions are scheduled Friday, Jan. 21. Participants can attend up to eight out of nine sessions. Highlights of the 2000 Turn 'n Learn sessions include:

--The Incredible Potential of Bison Tourism, conducted by Dana P. Jones, Woolly Prairie Buffalo Company. Jones will offer a humorous and enlightening presentation on the bison tourism business and how it effects ranch operation.

--Alternative Methods for Wintering Bison, conducted by David Lautt, past president of the North Dakota Buffalo Association and owner of the Sheyenne River Bison Ranch. He will discuss a variety of creative methods to keep bison healthy and happy during the winter months

--Carcass Properties--Meat Cuts and Where They Come From, conducted by Judson Seaman, affiliated with R.C. Western Meats, Inc., Rapid City, SD. He will describe the different cuts of bison meat and where they come from.

A trade show, featuring a kaleidoscope of bison products, including handling equipment, leather goods, art and jewelry, will take place Tuesday, Jan. 18, opening at 5 p.m., and Wednesday, Jan. 19, through Friday, Jan. 21, starting at 7 a.m. On Friday, Jan. 21, the conference festivities will culminate with a banquet, awards ceremony, dance and a special visit from T.C. Thorstenson and his trained buffalo, Harvey Wallbanger, Jr.

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