2014 MSU Family Business Awards
Weaver Cattle Co of Big Sandy was the recipient of the Family Business Award in the old business category (operating at least 50 years). The award was made during the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, October 10, 2014, in Bozeman, Montana.
The land that has shaped the Weaver family was purchase in 1925 by Stan Weaver’s grandfather, the renowned horseman Elmer Weaver. Elmer was inducted into the 2014 Cowboy Hall of Fame. Elmer’s father, William and four brothers came to Central Montana in 1888 from Myrtle Creek, Oregon. The Weaver brothers rode the Judith Basin Pool alongside artist Charlie Russell.
William Weaver eventually homesteaded and owned a salon in Chinook. He was a well-respected cattleman and became involved in the Montana and Canadian horse racing community.
Elmer the oldest child started breaking horses for the public at the age of fourteen and acquired his own ranch and livery stable in the growing town of Geraldine in 1914. A devastating fire took the livery stable and in the fall of 1925, Elmer moved his family to the present ranch in the Bear Paw Mountains. He continued to purchase surrounding homesteads, and in 1936 acquired the first tractor in the mountains.
When Stan’s father, Art, the youngest of the four brothers, took over the home place, horses were a lifestyle and raising cows was a living.
The original ranch grew under Art’s ownership, as he bought out the shares of other family members. He built a dam on Little Birch Creek which provided water for irrigation.
Art served as president of his local Stockgrowers chapter and was a Director of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
Following Art’s death in 1981, his son, Stan, took over management of the ranch. Stan and his family expanded the acreage and developed more irrigated production. Stan and his wife, Nancy, have three children, KellyAnne, David and Daniel.
Stan continued the order-buying business which his father started and began pursuing a vision he had of having a horse production sale.
He traveled to horse sales all over the country to gain insight and began to build up the mare band enough to provide a public production sale in 1996.
The Stan Weaver family began to make a respected name in the horse industry.
The Weavers’ three children have pursued their own endeavors, with each son, pursuing their own ag-related business ventures, but the “all work together as a whole,” helping each other out.
Reprinted from Big Sky Business Journal, November 2014