The cattle are all gone and now we have time to reflect. Looking back, having a sale during a pandemic and when cattle prices were down all over the country, was risky. We knew that the cattle were in great shape and when Dustin asked us right before the catalog was going to print, what we wanted to do, we decided we must move forward and changed the date by two weeks, hoping that everything would be better by then. Those two weeks allowed us more time, which we were thankful to have. We had no clue how much was involved in getting ready for a sale on our place. Thankfully we had a lot of help the week of the sale. Seth and Shelby came in from Kansas for almost the whole week. New son in law was probably wondering what he had gotten into. Shelby and Seth both have office jobs and we had them working outside sun up to sun down in the hot Texas sun. They both took home nice sunburns. Harley and Brody had just finished up their spring semester at Texas A&M and had time off to lend a hand, too. Koby was working as an essential worker at the restaurant where he works in Fort Worth. He just had a couple days off to cook for us. He came in after a long work week, and stayed up all night cooking lunch in the rain for us.
Garrett has worked for us for several years. He helps do everything that Keith and I ask him to do. I warned him for about a month that we had much to do the weeks before the sale. He was there for picture days, video days, long days of working the cows, he fed them and watched for heats, and built fence and moved panels around. You name it, Garret did it. We greatly appreciate all that he did to help us. He was and is our number one helper.
Sale day was a busy one for our helpers. We started at sun up that day. The house full of kids or should I say young adults, that stayed with us were all up and ready to go before 6 am. Not like normal college kids. A big storm blew through on Friday night giving us extra work that we had not planned on. We had 4 tents set up for serving lunch and check in that were destroyed in the storm to clean up. Everything was muddy and we had to put out about 60 bags of shavings, so at least it wasn’t a muddy mess under the tent. And all the cattle had to be moved from the traps in front of the house to the traps behind the barn and they had to moved right through the mud to get there. Good thing we had extra friends for helping sale day including Lauren Lee, Andrew Duke, Bruce Boyd, Brice Boyd, Conner Metcalf and Kristin Massingill. Dustin Layton and Andee Marston arrived early to help too. We got it all done before most people arrived, thanks to everyone who made it happen.
Because of the pandemic, we worried and worried if anyone was going to show up. I ordered hand sanitizer and soap on the internet for because I couldn’t find it in stores. We built a hand washing station and I bought disinfecting spray. We were going to be prepared to make the sale compliant to whatever our governor put in place. Thankfully, buying cattle was and will always be an essential business. If there was not a pandemic, we would have still worried if people were going to show up. Guess that’s normal. But when the trailers started pulling through the gates it was exciting. And cars and truck and more trailers. At about an hour before the sale, I was wondering if we were going to have enough parking and enough food. And if everyone would fit in the sale tent and stay 6 feet apart. Thankfully it all worked out.
Before the sale started, we were sure hoping that people liked the cows and were there to buy. And we were sure hoping that our internet was reliable. Often times when we have stormy weather, we don’t have internet. But everything was fine. Our friends and fellow Hereford breeders, bid on every single cow from underneath that tent with the muddy ground and from near and far on the internet. I will not ever forget the feeling when the cows we have put our heart into, were bought by dear Hereford folks. It was hard to say goodbye to most of the cows…especially Skittles and Sweet Tart. But sharing our genetics with our fellow Hereford breeders is an honor. We will look forward to many years of seeing our herd develop into herds for others. We will be watching for many of the offspring in the show rings across the country in coming years.
Wish that I had more pictures to share from sale day. I have never been good at taking pictures when something exciting is happening. We have very few pictures of the kids at sporting events or from the show ring. Even when I had the camera hanging around my neck. We just have memories of a beautiful wonderful day. Thank you to everyone that bid, bought and showed an interest in our program. And thanks to everyone that had a part in helping us from pictures to catalogs to setting up pens and cleaning up after the sale.
And don’t count us out of the business completely. We may have sold our entire young cow herd. But we kept a couple of donor cows that we are partners with, with other breeders. And we kept a few old cows that were just too old to sell. Also on the ground are embryo calves that will be our future herd of cows and herd bulls to sell. And we have already put in embryos for our next calf crop. Watch for our commercial cow herd selling in late summer. They will be mostly Hereford influenced cows and a few exotics that are bred to raise show steers. We have decided that since our kids are no longer show steers, we don’t need those cows. In addition, we will have 20 or so bulls in a sale in Schulenburg with our friends at Rocking W. Mark your calendar for October 9 for that sale.
We called our sale Hidden Oaks Ranch Retirement Sale. But as ranchers, I am pretty sure we will never retire. Just hope that we can cut back and enjoy the view.