Rain renews optimism at Red Bluff Sale this year

Feb 10, 2012

Dry! That was the one word you heard when talking to anyone familiar with California this past fall. Most of California received their last significant rain in late October, which is about the right time for moisture on the West Coast. Trouble was, the grass started, then it got hot and no more rain. That scenario does not bode well if you are in the livestock business. But as fate would have it, the rains did come. Most of California and the Pacific Northwest got a good soaking the week before the big Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale. It was a lifesaver!

There needs to be more moisture in the coming weeks, but the rain that did come put a big smile on the faces of ranchers up and down the West Coast. So, like many Red Bluff’s in the past, there was plenty of mud and it was welcome. There is no telling how much that rain helped this bull sale, but it had to have been huge.

The wet and muddy grounds were a welcome sight for all of the consignors who brought bulls and geldings to Red Bluff and with the great facilities at the Tehama County Fairgrounds, there never was a glitch in the activities. The week of Red Bluff saw sunny skies and warm temperatures, which always helps with the crowd. The barns were filled with bulls and geldings and lots of prospective buyers wandering in and out looking for the one that’s just right for their program. This five-day event is known across the land for the quality of bulls, horses and stock dogs, and each consignor loads some of their best stock, knowing that serious buyers are willing to pay top dollar. Last year’s bull and gelding sales were very strong and many wondered if that kind of strength would be possible again, especially with 67 more bulls in the lineup this year. Well, not to worry. That old Red Bluff magic was still in play as the bulls averaged a very strong and respectable $3,616. The Herefords and SimAngus bulls saw very strong demand with averages well over $4,000. Angus led all consignments in numbers entered and posted an excellent average as well. The gelding sale saw the average up about $100 over last year and the stock dogs were up over $1,200 on the average from last year. The Western Video Market sale and the Replacement Female Sale were also very good, with the feeder sale being exceptionally strong.

Quality livestock, quality people, and a wonderful organization dedicated to putting on the best sale possible, make Red Bluff an event that many people from across the country cannot miss. It would be nearly impossible to count the hours that the men and women involved in this event put in to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The people involved in the planning are livestock people who make their living in the business, so they have a pretty good handle on what folks are looking for when they come to Red Bluff. They know that it has to be profitable for the consignors and it has to be a reliable source of genetics for the buyers. And it has to be fun.

Making it all happen is the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale Committee and here they are: President John Owens; Vice President Ron Anderson; Treasurer Dusty deBraga; Secretary Matt Owens; Manager Adam Owens; Directors: Ken Hufford, Button Daugherty, Bob deBraga and Gordon Bruce. Also a part of the management group are Sale Veterinarians O. W. Hooton and Art Sutfin. The Advisory Committee Members are Kenneth Owens, Nathan Owens, Bub Ragan, Walt Stein, Ben Sale, Brett “Mac” McGiffin and Brian Birt.

All the fun began on Tuesday with the sifting and grading of calving ease bulls and range ready bulls. It’s a long day as the bulls are sifted for soundness and graded for quality. When it was all done, the judges selected a Red Angus bull from 6R Ranch, Redmond, OR, for the Champion Calving Ease Bull.

Day two begins early with the sifting and grading of the Halter bulls. As is always the case, there is a good-sized crowd on hand for the judging and lots of rail birds making their selections, but the ones that count are those of the judges and as they select their respective breed champions, the interest increases as the Jack Owens Ideal Range Bull is selected. This year, a powerful Hereford bull and a crowd favorite from Morrell Ranches, Willows, CA, was selected. Day two also saw the trade show open for business and the stock dogs were worked outside. The afternoon was highlighted by a Curt Pate Clinic on Horsemanship for Cattlemen. That night was a funfilled evening with the Buyers and Consignors Dinner and the auctioning off of Ellington Peek’s book, “When To Buy…When To Sell.”

Day three and the geldings and mules are shown at halter in age order in the Pauline Davis Pavilion. At noon, the Western Video Market and Replacement Female Sale was held in the Don Smith Pavilion and a good buying crowd was on hand. Over in the Pauline Davis Pavilion, the geldings and mules are shown in dry work, trail and cattle work in front of a huge crowd. That evening, another Curt Pate clinic was held and the Champion Conformation Gelding was selected and the dogs were worked again, this time inside.

Friday morning is again for the horses as they are shown in team roping, cutting, Snaffle Bit/Hackamore and stock horse contests. Following this, the Craig Owens Ideal Ranch Horse is selected. Outside, the dogs are worked one final time and in mid-afternoon, the Red Bluff Stock Dog Sale is held in the Don Smith Pavilion in front of a standingroom-only crowd. This year’s sale saw a top of $11,500 for Flip, a consignment from Loren Holmes, Red Bluff, and all the dogs averaged an impressive $4,456. The Dog Sale is no more than over and the doors open for the gelding sale in the Pauline Davis Pavilion. This year’s crowd for the horse sale was, by all accounts, one of the very largest to attend this widely respected sale. The sale is a fun-filled event as the consignors strut their stuff in the sale ring in an effort to impress the buyers that their horse is the one for them. The sale top came on a consignment from long time Red Bluff consignors Tom and Carmen Buckingham, Bruneau, ID, on DMAC Agent Spoon, the Champion Heel Horse and Champion Stock Horse, as this crowd favorite fetched $25,000.

As the week winds down, the centerpiece of this fiveday event is held. The Red Bluff Bull Sale is what started it all 71 years ago and it remains the anchor of this great event. There was a consensus that this year’s bull consignments were one of the best quality offerings in some time and the buyers must have agreed as they bid actively throughout the sale. This year’s volume buyer was Steve Lucas, Paradise Valley, NV. With the bull sale wrapped up, the crowd moves back to the Pauline Davis Pavilion for the Red Bluff’s Buckin’ Best Bull Riding. It’s quite a show with lots of action and it is followed with the big party and dance. When morning rolled around, most of the trade show was taken down and headed home as were the consignors and buyers and you can bet there were a lot of happy people on the road. Red Bluff had been good to them again and you can bet they were already making plans for next year. We’ll look for you there next year. It’s worth it! — Jerry York, WLJ Fieldman