ROLLIN’ ROCK HISTORY
The Davis family of Rollin’ Rock Angus in Sidney, Montana is arguably one of the most influential families to the Angus breed from both a leadership and cattle breeding perspective. The contributions to the industry are hardly enumerable, as you begin to count the boards of directors served, awards won, and outreach made to fellow Angus breeders to better our breed. Bill and his late father Dale are known for their captivating personalities, they are known to light up a room with both humor and extensive knowledge of the breed and industry. As put by Mark Gardiner of Gardiner Angus Ranch, “Bill has an eternal optimism for the Angus breed.” I think all who have met Bill and the Davis family can attest to the outgoing spirit and enthusiasm they bring to the breed.
It was 1956 in Belgrade, Montana when this legendary ranch was first conceived by Mr. Dale and Betty Davis. Performance testing of cattle was a new concept and they embraced it entirely, making in-herd selections of cattle with economically important heritable traits. Cattle were sold privately until 1971, when the first Rollin’ Rock production sale started. In 1977, Bill and Jennifer Davis purchased Rollin’ Rock Angus, and in 1993 moved the ranch headquarters to Sidney, Montana.
Rollin’ Rock Angus focuses on producing cattle that are rugged, durable, and can handle the terrain of Montana as well as possessing the versatility to adapt to all parts of the country. Calving 600+ cows a year, they are the “Program with a Purpose”, and they have been steadfast in maintaining that purpose over the past 58 years. In 2005 they were awarded the Certified Angus Beef Seedstock Commitment to Excellence Award. Not only has Rollin’ Rock been a consistent supplier of bulls for the commercial cattlemen, they have bred breed-influencing sires and foundation females for decades.
The first claim to fame for Rollin’ Rock Angus was the purchase of the Rito N Bar bull from the N Bar Ranch of Grass Range, Montana. Born in March of 1960, Rito N Bar went on to sire the influential RR Rito 707 in 1967. In 1983, Eriskay of Rollin Rock 3302 was born, becoming a cornerstone foundation female in the Rollin Rock herd. As a two-year old, she calved the influential RR Traveler 5204 bull in the spring of 1985, sired by QAS Traveler 23-4. A paternal brother to Traveler 5204, the breed-altering DHD Traveler 6807 bull would be born a year later in 1986. It was in that same year that the RR Hero 6267 bull would be born at Rollin’ Rock Angus. RR Hero 6267, would become a staple in the pedigree for other herd sires, and stud-quality bulls including his son Hero 6267 of RR 2418, who would then go on to sire the breed altering sire at the turn of the century, HA Imagemaker 0415. Other influential sires bred out of the performance-oriented Rollin’ Rock herd include PAPA Forte 1921, PAPA Equator 2928, PAPA Universe 515, RR Scotch Cap 9440 and RR Scotch Cap 9440 1483.
The Davis family also played a crucial role in the development of the Performance Breeders Bull Sale. Started in 1988, the founding members include Dale Davis of PAPA Angus, Bill & Jennifer Davis of Rollin’ Rock Angus, Dave & Yvonne Hinman of Hinman Angus and John Hamilton of Cedar Hills Angus. For over a decade, the Performance Breeders Bull Sale was one of the leading Angus sales in Montana, and the sale continued with Rollin’ Rock and Hinman Angus until 2008. Leading bulls in the Angus breed were sold through these sales as well as bulls that met the needs of commercial cattlemen across Montana, Nebraska, North & South Dakota and across the country. Many of these bulls were in major A.I. studs leading the breed in maternal, weaning, performance and carcass traits. Behind all good cattle, however, are great cattlemen and stewards of the land. The Davis family is no exception.
Dale Davis had a penchant for performance in his cattle, and that is a legacy you still find today at Rollin Rock. Dale was an active member and former president of the Montana Beef Performance Association, as well as a member of the American Angus Association Board of Directors from 1973 to 1979. It was during his tenure on the Board, that the Association published its first Angus Sire Evaluation Report, established Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR) as the basis of national cattle evaluation, established estimated breeding values (EBVs) for maternal traits and launched the Pathfinder Program.
Bill, following in the footsteps of his father, also served as the President of the Montana Beef Producers Association. He served on the American Angus Association Board of Directors for 8 years, serving as President in 2010. The father/son outlook for progressively moving the Angus breed can best be summed up from a quote in the Angus Journal in 2011: