Saturday, April 17 was one of the first sun-shiny days of spring in Billings, Montana, and the Yellowstone Boys & Girls Ranch was the perfect meeting place that day for real ranch cowboys and cowgirls with good horses to sell and prospective buyers who came from across the country looking for reliable mounts. It was the fourth annual “REAL” Ranch Horse Invitational Sale, and dependable geldings were in high demand once again this year.
This well-attended sale organized by the Montana Ranch Horse Association is where genuine ranch-made horses preview fresh and unridden before the crowd the morning of the sale, in an effort to show the true character of each horse. Horse hands brought their offerings to the sale this year from ranches in Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Idaho. A team roping preview and an open ranch horse competition held the day before the sale gave sellers a chance to show off any sale horses with arena merit.
Don Selle of Baker, Montana brought the high selling horse to the 2010 “REAL” Ranch Horse Sale, just like he did in 2009. Lot 56 – Starburst Rackateer, a 10-year-old gelding finished in both heading and heeling, had also been used to pick up on and haze off of. Known as “Superman,” this prime-age gentleman was named the 2008 Champion Bridle Horse at the Black Hills Stock Show Ranch Horse Competition. He went home with Mary Hanson of Edgar, Montana, for the price of $8,500.
Second high seller of the day was a 7-year-old gelding, Lot 29 – Silverdollar Duece, consigned by Chad Rainsdon of Deer Lodge, Montana. The quiet giant measured 16.2 hands and brought $8,400, selling to Mike Jorgenson of Corvallis, Montana.
Jake and Jessica Hahn of Bridger, Montana offered the third high seller of the day, Lot 1 – Triple Bar Slots, and exchanged him for $7,700. The 5-year-old ranch gelding was extremely gentle and handy to boot and will make his new home at the Fishtail Basin Ranch, Fishtail, Montana.
The top five selling ranch horses averaged $7,900 at this year’s “REAL” Sale, while the top 10 averaged $6,905 and the top 20 $6,075. All the ranch horses selling averaged $4,975.
This year’s offering included a dozen green ranch horses as well. The youngsters came to the sale with background and potential, just not as much experience. Sky Grant of Lovell, Wyoming, brought the high-selling green ranch horse to the “REAL” Sale this year. Lot 20 – MNM Cruzer, a 5-year-old gelding, brought $5,500 and sold to Gary and Callie DeVries of Bridger, Montana. The top five selling green horses at the 2010 “REAL” Sale averaged $4,140, and all 12 of them averaged $3,475.
As a special addition to this year’s “REAL” Ranch Horse Invitational Sale, Rawhide Quarter Horses (Nate, TJ and Jake Wald) of Lodge Grass, Montana donated proceeds from the auction of a 2008 gray gelding out of their program to the Yellowstone Boys & Girls Ranch, which provides residential treatment services for at-risk youth. Mr. and Mrs. Rick Gilliland of Livingston, Montana, purchased the colt for $1,600.
Prospective buyers came to the sale from across the nation and Canada. After the auctioneer’s final call, horses were claimed by buyers from Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Colorado, Virginia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Volume buyer at the sale was Switchback Ranch of Roscoe, Montana.