Meet the Team
Dr. Chriss Mack
Dr. Mack started Bitterroot Bison in 2001. Alongside his busy Neurosurgical practice, his desire to raise animals lead to the natural choice of Bison. Raising bison became a respite from the demands of Neurosurgery. Dr. Mack then purchased 800 acres of land in Lolo and Stevensville and started the process of building the facilities and fencing to raise his bison. He purchased his bison from Hilda Thomas of the Bar-Z Ranch in Powel, Wyoming, known for her well-bred bison. Secondarily, because of that expertise he hired Hilda to find the best breeding bulls available. Hilda then brought four breeding bulls home from Canada to Dr. Mack’s herd and Bitterroot Bison was born. In 2005-2006, Dr. Mack and Troy Westre teamed up which facilitates today’s Bitterroot Bison.
Troy has been raising bison for 18 years. He does not come from a ranching background, but has developed a love for the lifestyle. He was a welder by trade and took up bison ranching as a hobby because he had “always liked the animal.” He wasn’t expecting to make a business out of it, but his herd kept expanding, and by 2005 he was looking for leased land so his business could continue growing. That year, a local bison rancher and surgeon, Chriss Mack, performed surgery on him. Troy noticed pictures of bison in Chriss’ office and discovered that he had a herd of his own. The two men decided to become partners, and they merged their herds onto Chriss’ land in the Bitterroot Valley near Missoula, Montana. Troy quit his job and dedicated himself fulltime to raising bison. “I’m going on 18 years raising this magnificent animal. It has been challenging yet rewarding career. Not many people ever find their calling in life but I can say I have thanks to Family, Friends, Chris Mack and most important, the Bison.”
Candy and Troy met in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the 80’s. They started a family and eventually moved to Missoula, Montana in 2000. She enjoys spending time with family, including working in the family business. She does everything from sales to working in the Food Truck where you can find her homemade chili on the menu. She loves supporting her family in Bitterroot Bison, and especially working with the customers.
Zach Westre is 25 years old and has been working with his father Troy on the Ranch for 18 years. He enjoys traveling, working out, and spending time with family and friends. “Working next to my father throughout the years has taught me many things. I have been lucky enough to be handed down the deep love and compassion for these great animals and nature that lives in the very core of my Father and is the life blood of our Ranch. I have learned that when you treat these animals with the love and respect they deserve the ripples can be felt all the way down the line and can be felt in everything from a hide to a bar of soap." Zach oversees operations of Bitterroot Bison Food Truck and Catering. He also helps with various ranch duties as well as marketing and sales.
Ken Moved to Missoula Montana from the Oregon coast in 2008 because he was ready for a change and heard about the many wonders of Montana. He and Troy met in 2010 and quickly became friends. Ken has been helping on the ranch ever since. Ken says “Working with Troy and the bison through the years has taught me so much. I have been his right-hand man for almost 8 years. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and the animal that I consider my spirit animal” Ken helps with everything from the food truck, to calving, to working the animals and much more.”
Cody is 23 years old and loves the outdoor lifestyle. He is an avid hunter and loves anything to do with being outside. Cody was introduced to these magnificent creatures after meeting Troy. He first started helping feed the animals and clean the bison skulls. He now helps with everything from calving in the spring to harvesting in the fall and everything in-between. He says “I am thankful to say I have experienced five years of working with these amazing animals and look forward to many years ahead with bitterroot bison.”