True Believer

For Arizona roper Mel Potter, the fastest route to the winner's circle has always been on the back of a Driftwood.

February 22, 2007, Marana, Arizona - It was mid-morning and the horse sale preview was just getting underway.

A huge circus tent held the sale pavilion, and a spacious roping arena situated next to the tent held the horses. The arena bustled with activity.

In its center, a group of rodeo cowboys and cowgirls put some hard-running mounts through their paces as barrel racers, bulldoggers and ropers. In a round pen off to one side, a mustachioed cowboy looked over a set of yearling performance prospects.

The big event itself, billed as the Mel Potter Ranch Performance Horse Prospect Sale, got underway shortly after 1 p.m. By early evening, 70 head of horses ranging in age from 1 to 23 had been auctioned off for more than $480,000.

For Mel Potter, the man behind the horses, it was a day of mixed emotions.

On one hand, there was appreciation that a crowd of more than 600 buyers had chosen to attend the sale and bid so vigorously on the offerings. On the other hand, there was an air of sadness over the fact that many of the best young rodeo prospects that the ranch had ever produced were now being dispersed to the four corners of the country.

But the overriding emotion of the day was one of deep pride and satisfaction-pride in the consistent quality of the overall sale offering, and satisfaction in knowing that each animal offered was genetically predisposed to excel at any ranch or arena task set before it.

These were, after all, Driftwood horses.

For the rest of the story, pick up the May 2007 issue of Western Horseman.