I’ve loved cattle sales since I can remember. Growing up on an operation that sells bulls for a living allowed me to learn about different types of sales from a young age. Up until 2006, we merchandised our bulls through private treaty and consignment sales. It was always exciting to know that someone was coming to the ranch to look at bulls and traveling to consignment sales was considered a “family vacation.” As our operation grew, it became time to start holding an annual production sale. This brought about its own excitement and challenges.
The reward of sale day after a year of watching the bulls be born, grow and mature is greater than any other experience I’ve had. It’s crazy to see all the work that goes into a year with the bulls come down to watching them all walk through the sale ring in a couple hours. We spend the year choosing favorites and picking out the great ones, but everything comes down to which lots entice the most bids during their moment in the ring.
My personal favorite project of the year is the sale catalog. There’s a lot of stress in getting pictures, lot numbers, layout and footnotes to come together but it’s fun to see the finished product. The catalog is sent out to other producers who decide if they want to toss it out or spend time studying it. I’m so thankful to anyone who has ever taken the time to study a catalog full of our bulls, even if they didn’t purchase anything. Operations that produce and offer bulls for sale invest a lot into them, and knowing that they interest other producers is such a great feeling.
The ranch undergoes a transformation in the week leading up to the sale. The barn is switched over from calving pens to a sale ring surrounded by bleachers. The lot in front of the barn turns into bull display pens and the front pasture turns into a parking lot. If you came on the property a week before or after the sale, you might not recognize it.
The organized chaos of sale week preparation is beautiful. This may be where dad and I have a difference of opinion. He gets stressed when things aren’t smooth and I think watching a crew of men that might not have done a lot of physical labor before and don’t all speak the same language is hilarious. As long as the job gets done who cares how pretty the process was, right? I think its important to laugh and have a good time while working.
Sale day is my absolute favorite day of the year, it beats every holiday. If I could choose a day to bring someone to the ranch for the first time, it would be bull sale day. There’s not another time that so perfectly showcases everything my family works for.
Having all of our wonderful customers and friends in one place for a few hours is something that I’m truly thankful for. Without customers, an operation like ours can’t exist. Satisfied customers make everything that goes into holding a production sale worth the time.
Photos by Art By Amy Photography