The Hoofin’ it for Hunger Race started in 2011 when the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee decided to hold an event that promoted outdoor exercise, increase awareness about agriculture to a non-farming public, and raise funds to help feed needy families. Hoofin’ it for Hunger was born with the Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) selected as the recipient of the proceeds. The MFBN in Missoula secures and distributes donated and low-cost food to nearly 150 hunger relief agencies throughout Montana and is a member of Feeding America. The 2017 race, held October 7, raised $7000 for MFBN through sponsorships and race registration fees.

The race, hosted by the Montana YF&R and Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory, is held on Fort Keogh’s property where competitors can run over bridges along the river and past agricultural land and livestock. The event features a half-marathon, a 10K, 5K and one-mile walk. Participants of the one-mile walk are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Custer County Food Bank. This year, the local food bank received 120 pounds of donated food.

Race winners this year were:

  •             5K – Female: Emily Reaves, Boise, ID; Male: Anton Veverka, Richey 
  •             10K – Female: Sarah Domek, Wibaux; Male: Jacob Miller, Miles City
  •             Half Marathon – Lisa Holding Eagle, Dickinson, ND; Male: Jeff Mussetter, Hardin
  •             Fastest Farmer – Tim Brown, Glendive (10K) 

Tim Brown, Fastest Farmers, is a runner who raises Highland Cattle near Glendive. “I believe I’ve done this race at least twice; the last time was maybe four years ago. I have been running for a long time,” notes the 56-year-old. “I started when I was 25. I really enjoy the 10K race because it’s easy to train for, and the length is just right to enjoy. This year I ran with my sister although she did the half-marathon. I’m not quite ready for that, so I enjoyed my 47 minutes with the 10K.”

Brown says it’s great to be running off asphalt and “out of the concrete jungle.” Although he’s a contractor by trade specializing in electrical and refrigeration, he likes being involved in agriculture and raising healthy, delicious food.

Lisa Holding Eagle who lives in Dickinson with her husband and two sons, enjoys HIFH because she can “get off of the pavement when running and racing.  I'm especially fond of the part of the course along the river—it reminds me of the best parts of growing up and experiencing the outdoors in eastern Montana.”

She has been running since elementary school, and has run twice in HIFH. “This is a very well-organized race, and I think of it as my 'hometown half marathon.' I went to high school at Custer County District High School and my parents still live in Miles City.  A couple of former CCDHS cross country teammates ran the race as well which made for a fun little reunion.” Not only does she enjoy the race itself, but is “very happy to support a cause like Montana Food Bank Network.”

Darcia Patten, Powder River County Farm Bureau president, has been a sponsor and a participant for several years. “Hoofin’ It for Hunger gives money to a wonderful cause. I budget a certain amount of money for sponsorships, and I believe with Hoofin’ It for Hunger, I get the best bang for my buck,” says the owner of Equine Align, an equine chiropractic business.

“Food banks feeding hungry people is a very worthy reason to participate,” the rancher explains. “I walk in the 5K which shows anyone can do that. Plus, it’s a beautiful course that is fairly level and well-groomed and is held in the heart of agriculture, which is very important to me.”

Bill Mathews, executive director, MFBN, notes, “We are so thankful for the relationship we have with Montana Farm Bureau Federation over the years. The Hoofin’ it or Hunger event, now in its seventh year, has raised $44,000 for the Montana Food Bank Network. That amount equates to 132,000 meals provided to food insecure Montanans. The Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers decided years ago that helping to end hunger in Montana was important to them and they have never wavered in their efforts to give back their time and funding to this important cause.” 

Cutline: The Hoofin’ It for Hunger Race held October 7 in Miles City was hosted by the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers and the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory. The race raised $7,000 for the Montana Food Bank Network. Runners and virtual runners got the t-shirt.