Over Educated Cowboy Scholarship

Due February 29, 2024

The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is offering two $2,000 scholarships  to college students who are seeking a profession in the field of animal husbandry.

For more information, email foundation@mtbeef.org

  • Applicants must be seeking profession in the field of animal husbandry.
    • Majors such as Animal Science, Ag Business, Ag Education or Technology, Ag Production, Farm & Ranch Management and/or Ranching Systems are preferred.
    • If other major of field of study, explain why it would be beneficial.
  • Applicants enrolled in Vocational and out of state schools will be accepted
  • Applicant must be a member, or have at least one parent/guardian who is a member, of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
  • Applicant must demonstrate a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0

If you are interested in the scholarship but are not currently a MSGA member, join today! Student memberships start at just $20/year. www.mtbeef.org/membership/

  • A 250-600 word essay on one of the following topics:
    • What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing the Agriculture Industry today?
    • When and what made you decide this was the industry for you?
    • Share a humorous or hurtful story that helped define who you are.
  • Copy of transcript (non-official transcripts are accepted)
  • Finalists will be invited to interview with members of the Ansotegui family
  • Fill out printable application.
  • Please include essay and transcripts in the application.
  • All materials must be postmarked by February 29, 2024.
  • Applications are also available online at www.mtbeeffoundation.org.

Mailing Address:
Montana Stockgrowers Association
c/o Foundation Scholarship
420 N. California St.,
Helena, MT 59601
EMAIL: foundation@mtbeef.org

About Dr. Raymond Ansotegui

Dr. Raymond “Ray” P. Ansotegui was the consummate ambassador to the cowboy way of life. He supported the future of ranching by balancing the best of tradition with the newest research. From an early age, Ray was fascinated by the wisdom his grandfather and others shared about lessons they had learned about ranching. Whether it was as a professor, judging fairs, giving lectures, managing stock at the Livingston Roundup Rodeo, or establishing an essay contest to donate well-bred rescued bummer calves to two local 4-H students, who might not otherwise have means for a project animal, he never lost that curiosity throughout his life.  Ray was always instilling confidence into youth who would become the next generation of cattlewomen and men. His contributions to ranching in Montana and beyond are unquantifiable.

Ray, a Spanish Basque, was born July 11, 1947, spending his early years on the family ranch in Paradise Valley, Nevada. He loved school and could not wait to be a cowboy. Ray embraced the beauty of being horseback without any sign of civilization for miles around. His family moved to Fallon, Nevada so Ray could attend high school.  Fallon, a farming community, found Ray working on his family ranch, the neighbor’s dairy, and the family lumber yard.  Ray never missed a day of school from kindergarten through high school. He was the first in his family to attend college and was honored to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science and a Master’s Degree in Range Nutrition from the University of Nevada Reno. He earned his doctorate from New Mexico State University in Ruminant Nutrition and Reproductive Physiology. Education became his work and ultimately a lifelong passion. He would often refer to himself as an “Over Educated Cowboy.”

In 1972, Ray married Linda Bilbao. The couple moved to Livingston, Montana, in 1975 where he worked briefly for American Breeder’s Service before accepting a one time, one year position at Montana State University (MSU). One year at MSU stretched into thirty-two years where Ray won numerous teaching awards and led groundbreaking research for the university.

Ray’s significant influential research studies focused on Cow/Calf Nutrition, Range Forage Utilization, Estrous Synchronization, and Trace Mineral Nutrition. A great deal of his research data was collected in the field where he treasured the marriage of science and cowboy life. Ray taught thirty different courses at MSU, advised countless extraordinary graduate students, and each year personally advised 20 to 25 students and served on four to five graduate student committees. Ray was frequently called out as a student and staff favorite, including the Western Section American Society of Animal Science Distinguished Teacher Award. (Comprehensive list of awards and publications at the link below.)

It was of the utmost importance students not just learn “book facts,” but came away with directly applicable knowledge, skills, and a healthy dose of common sense. Having students get a ‘hands on’ taste of ranching was a top priority.  To that end, Ray created numerous courses including senior level ARNR480 – Calving Management. The students completed classroom study on the science of calving, followed by a week of calving on ranches throughout Montana. Despite his acclaimed intelligence and classic grumpy cowboy look, Ray was always approachable and humble. He insisted his students drop the formality of Dr. Ansotegui and simply call him Ray.

After retiring from MSU in 2006, Ray and Linda opened OEC (Over Educated Cowboy) A.I. (Artificial Insemination) and Consulting. Collaborating with great technicians and friends, Ray spent the spring and fall horseback in cow camps all over the state. This involved providing A.I. protocols, administering pharmaceuticals, noting heat detection (usually horseback), helping A.I. cattle and recording data. Ray went on to present many talks on nutrition and artificial insemination to the Ag industry including ranchers, instructors, nutritionists, and veterinarians. His retirement years were full of fun adventures in AI camps, lending a hand on friends’ ranches, taking numerous family camping trips to Yellowstone, and traveling to see his kids and grandkids. He loved learning about local agriculture, sharing his knowledge and was an ambassador for the cattle industry wherever he traveled. Ray completed two teaching sabbaticals at New Mexico State and the University of Western Australia and no matter where in the world he was located, he was a cowboy.

Kind to a fault, Ray was an engaging storyteller with a biting sense of humor and sarcasm, that will remain unmatched in many circles. He died on March 2, 2023, after a seven-year battle with an unfair opponent, Alzheimer’s.


2024 Over Educated Cowboy Scholarship Application

Deadline: February 29, 2024

Printable Application