Calling all yak lovers!

Photo: Grant Pound

The 2017 Rocky Mountain YAKSPO, taking place on Saturday, October 7, at The Ranch Event Center, Loveland, is an all-in-one primer on yaks presented in a single day, for anyone interested in these interesting animals. Sponsored by Snowcliff Ranch of Livermore, Colorado, the event also includes more advanced info, including a seminar on genetics. Live yaks will be present at the event.

Photo: Grant Pound

Raising yaks is growing in popularity by the day, with more than 60 breeders in Colorado alone, several of which will exhibit live animals at the event. The rugged animals, originally from the Himalayas, are well suited to the terrain and conditions of high altitude Colorado.

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YAKSPO includes seminars, such as the invaluable “What I Wish I’d Known,” presented at 9 a.m. by Grant Pound, owner of sponsor Snowcliff Ranch (, located at 7,000 feet in Livermore, Colorado. Pound is also the vice president of the International Yak Association (IYAK).

Says Pound, “The yaks, especially the calves, seem to love climbing rocks and playing King of the Hill. We are selecting breeding animals for solid structure, good size and attitude. We work with our animals so they are comfortable with humans and don’t spook when vehicles come around.”

High in protein and low in fat, yak meat—similar to that of bison—is one reason ranchers are flocking to yaks. Combings from the densely coated animals are prized by spinners, weavers, and knitters, and the fiber sells for premium prices. Their milk is used for artisanal cheese, and Amy Archer, who raises yaks in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, will be speaking on Yak Cheese Making at 10 a.m at YAKSPO.

Other speakers will also be at the event. At 1 p.m., Dr. Temple Grandin will be speaking on “Humane Animal Handling.”

The event opens at 7 a.m. October 7, with seminars throughout the day. Lunch will be available, and music by Lois and the Lantern—a “folk/bluegrass/all kinds of music” band—will round out the day from 4 to 6 p.m.

Judging results of the exhibited animals will be announced at 5 p.m., during a break in the music.

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