Nyle Russell

Published by UTRam on

My ancestors homesteaded in Rush Valley, Utah and my Great Grandpa Daniel W. Russell began raising commercial sheep. His two sons’ continued his legacy by taking over the range sheep operation, and was very successful. They ran two bands of sheep and acquired enough private land and to run their sheep year round. One of my most vivid memories of the sheep when I was only about 12 years old, I got to go with my dad and his work friends with hounds to run a bear that was terrorizing the herd on what is now the Park City West ski resort. We lived in Tooele but I spent most of my early life in St. John working on the ranch and loved it. My favorite time of every year was shearing and docking time, because I got to miss several days of school to help.

I started raising Suffolk sheep in 1972 as an FFA project, and became addicted to the sheep industry. I was able to learn from others in the purebred business and I successfully showed and sold my sheep around the country at the major shows and enjoyed it. I was only 19 when I made my first trip to Sedalia, Missouri to the Midwest Stud Ram Sale. I sold or traded most of my rams to Grandpa. My Grandpa Martell Russell always told me, “Take care of the sheep and they will take care of you.” When I went to college I didn’t want to have to disperse my sheep herd because I knew I could never replace them. So my dad agreed and took care of them and fed all my sheep during the week and I came home to help him every weekend.

I have met a lot of amazing sheepmen from around the country, we are a unique breed; it was always fun and a challenge to compete against the best sheep in the nation. I competed against my future wife in the show ring for numerous years. I was told, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” So I married Collette Caras and we recently celebrated 35 years of marriage with our three amazing sons and two beautiful granddaughters. At a very young age it is easy to tell Cozy and Abby love Great Grandpa Jim and the sheep, they will be the sixth generation sheep producers. I retired after teaching Agriculture Science, welding and being the FFA advisor at Payson High School for 30 years. After being retired for a year and helping full time I realize how busy Nick has been for the past 15 years working on the farm.

I have consigned at and attended several different commercial range rams sales and they are decisive factor to determine if we are raising the correct type of sheep by their acceptance at these sales. I have been fortunate to have had several high selling pens and stud rams. The Utah Ram Sale is truly the ultimate ram sale every year; all producers have to save their best rams in order to be competitive at this sale. Every year, “The best do keep getting better!!” It is amazing how the sheep have changed over the past 50 years to meet the demands of the industry. I have been the executive secretary for the Utah Ram Sale and Utah Registered Sheep Breeders for numerous years; it is great to be associated with two organizations whose ultimate goal is to continue to promote the sheep industry. Our whole family is involved and helps with the Utah Rams Sale to help make it a successful every year, thanks to the dedicated consignors and progressive buyers who want to upgrade their sheep!

Written By: Nyle Russell
Spanish Fork, Utah

Categories: Consignors