A Sandhills Sizzler

Editor's Note: This story first appeared in WH in December 1994. For more on the Haythorn horse sale, see "Ties That Bind, " in the December 2006 issue.

The press release called it a "tent burner," and I later learned that it took 8,000 pounds of ice to supply the crowds who drove to the Nebraska Sandhills to be part of the Haythorn sale.

There were 4, 000 people there Saturday, September 10, for the horse sale preview and Longhorn sale. This outfit has been ranching near Arthur for 110 years, and their group of 185 horses is believed to be the largest offering of American Quarter Horses of one brand ever sold at one time.

The quality of those horses was recognized in 1993 when the Haythorn Ranch won the first AQHA Remuda Award. But the ranch didn't rely on that accomplishment to establish the worth of their horses.

On Saturday, horses were demonstrated in either team, steer or calf roping, with an occasional bulldogging run thrown in. Past National Finals Rodeo contestants Terry Sellon, George Aros and Jerry Buckles, steer roping finals hands Harold Bumguardner and Rod Pratt, along with Craig Haythorn and the Haythorn hands, all took part.

Haythorn cowboy Paul Cleveland was definitely the all-around champ for the day. He headed, heeled, tied down steers, roped calves and bulldogged two steers, all on sale horses.

For the sale Sunday, folks showed up from 27 states and Canada, and some phone bids were also worked in. Auctioneers Shawn and Lex Madden of Torrington, Wyoming, worked in front of a standing-room-only crowd jamming an 86 by 140-foot tent. The energy and enthusiasm that the brothers bring to a sale set the tone for a great day.

Of the 185 horses bearing the figure 4 brand, 98 broke geldings averaged $6,171 per head. Two broke mares averaged $3,375. Five 2-year-old broke geldings averaged $3, 760. Seven yearling geldings averaged $2,471.

Five weanling stallions average $3, 790. Twenty-five mares averaged $3,050. Eight 2-year-old fillies averaged $3,150. Sixteen yearling fillies averaged $2,375. Nineteen weanling fillies average $1,463.

The high-selling gelding, Our Happy Brother, went to Jerry Haeber of Rock Springs, Texas, for $20,000. A good steer roping horse, Eddie 77, went to John Wells of Elk Grove, California, for $16,000.

Western artist Steve Devenyns of Cody, Wyoming, bought Wally Warrior for $12,500 I expect to see Wally in a painting soon. Steer roping great Mel Potter of Marana, Arizona, paid $11,000 for Eddie 732. That's the same price that Scott Turner, Charlotte, North Carolina, paid for Brother 777. Scott was purchasing for race car driver Dale Earnhardt.

There were 11 broke geldings who sold for $10,000 or more.

It was a big day for spectators, buyers, Waldo and Beldora, Craig and Jody Haythorn, and the whole ranch family.

Meanwhile, just over one of the sandhills, 50 4-year-old geldings grazed, destined for the next Haythorn production sale.