Spectacular sales and rain-raised spirits at Red Bluff

Feb 8, 2013
by WLJ

This was a special year at Red Bluff for several reasons. Following a strong sale season last fall, there was much anticipation for this year’s event. As fall faded into winter, much of the southwest experienced a wetter than normal year, but it has since slowed up and has the radar as very close to average moisture at this point. Going into Red Bluff, as tradition would have it, we experience a good rainstorm at the start of the week.

The week’s sales started off with the annual Western Video Market Feeder Calf and Replacement Female sale. The early rains had many thinking the replacement female sale would be a highlight for the week; however, these colder temperatures have suppressed grass growth in the past month and the sale, although considered a huge success, wasn’t nearly as high as many had anticipated. One group of pairs sold for $2,050, two groups of young bred cows averaged $1,978, and over 300 bred heifers averaged nearly $1,400. For the moisture situation combined with the current marketplace, this was a great sale. The end of January is a very tough time to sell commercial females, but this sale was as solid as anyone would have hoped for.

The working stock dogs are always a main attraction to the week’s events.

This year during the first trials, the event was met with a steady rainstorm that helped the adrenaline, slipping and sliding for each handler and dog team. These dogs are always amazing to watch how they respond and control the cattle. They are without a doubt athletes and professionals. The final trial takes place in the outdoor grass that spans nearly four acres. Once the cattle are released, it is up to the dog to maneuver them through the course. They must exhibit stop, control, and obedience in order for any sort of success to take place. This year, 17 dogs made it into the sale ring. Topping at $8,700, AmazingGrace, a 2009 Border Collie female took the champion and high selling honors. This female was exceptional in all three trials.

The sale was a great success and averaged $4,310!

The geldings and mules were especially high in demand this year. When they were exhibited on Thursday, an above average crowd had gathered to view each lot. But on Friday morning, the arena was packed. There was heavy interest and this carried into the sale. Selling four less horses, the average at the sale was up nearly $800! Congratulations to all involved on such a successful event. It was noted by many people the depth of quality this year’s offering held. The reputation for the gelding and mule sale is that it is hard to get through the sift, but in the last few years, it is much harder to have a champion. The quality continues to uphold the reputation of the Red Bluff Gelding Sale. This would be a large reason for averaging $6,455 this year!

The entry list for the bull sale seemed to be as high as they have ever seen. At one point, nearly 500 bulls had been consigned. The committee took to the phones to confirm the entry list before the bulls arrived. Many consignors then left a couple of bulls home and when it came time to check in, 423 bulls showed up. Going through the sifting and grading, 378 were allowed to enter the sale ring. This trend is easy to predict after three extremely successful sales in a row and reaching record averages. This year was only off last year’s average by $375. This is an excellent average for a sale of this magnitude! The quality in the bulls was as good as it has ever been. Coming down to the selection of the champion, there were several standout herd sire prospects. In fact, the comment was made over the Champion Hereford bull, consigned by Morrell Ranches, that this might have been the best Hereford bull ever at Red Bluff, a compliment many had never heard before! He later became the high selling bull in the sale. I feel that the quality of the bulls were why this sale, even with 44 more bulls being sold, was still one of the better averages in the last 10 years.

The week’s events are also filled with many educational and social events that bring people together in lowpressure situations. Both Pfizer and Novartis held public educational venues to promote their products and talk about animal health and DNA technologies. Three different meal socials are held to mingle buyers, consignors and spectators. Several clinics involving cattle handling, cattle vaccination, and working a cow horse also take place. In summary, every day from Tuesday to Saturday at the Bull Riding, there is entertainment for the masses at Red Bluff.

Such a large undertaking isn’t handled easily. So many behind-the-scenes people put the week together and the hospitality is exceptional. This is always a professional event with every opportunity to network with other livestock people. This year had perfect weather Thursday through the weekend and had large crowds walking through the livestock and dogs, as well as the tradeshow.

A special thanks goes out to the committee: John Owens, president, Ron Anderson, vice president, Dusty deBraga, treasurer, Matt Owens, secretary, Ken Hufford, director, Button Daugherty, director, Bob deBraga, honorary director, Gordon Bruce, honorary director, Adam Owens, manager. Thanks also go to O.W.

Hooton and Art Sutfin, sale veterinarians. The advisory committee: Kenneth Owens, Nathan Owens, Bub Ragan, Walt Stein, Ben Sale, Brent “Mac” McGiffin, and Brian Birt. Also, the Red Bluff Bull Sale Office is staffed with several people who help make this a top-notch event and it is all these people who work together to make Red Bluff successful year-in and year-out.

We at the Western Livestock Journal are excited to be a huge part of Red Bluff and we look forward to next year’s events! — Logan Ipsen, WLJ Fieldman