It’s not uncommon for a ranch family to plan a trip in conjunction with a livestock show or a bull sale. That really wasn’t my intention – but our scheduled winter trip to Mexico had to be postponed, and I found myself on the beach in Puerta Vallarta the day of an important bull sale.
I had already bought two bulls in person at the Feddes sale this spring - only an hour and a half from the ranch - but I still needed a third. The sale at Becton Red Angus out of Sheridan, Wyoming, was broadcast over the internet.
This internet auction scenario wouldn’t be a new experience for me, and I’ve described it all before in the post Bull Sale. What was different for me this day was that I was on the internet in Mexico, and the sale was in Wyoming. I wasn’t sure if the connection would be quick enough to show up in time in a very fast-paced auction.
Another difference between the two sales was my dress. The auctioneer was the same one who cried the Feddes sale where I bought two bulls a week previous. I knew he would be wearing a felt hat and a necktie. In fact everyone at the sale would be wearing hats and boots – and likely jackets as well. I, on the other hand, was wearing shorts, golf shirt, and sandals – my exposed legs blindingly pale.
The snow in the ranch yard would be covered by an acre or two of diesel 4wd pickups pulling gooseneck stock trailers. The sale would be held in a cow-barn, with lunch provided in the shop. I was sitting in the shade by the pool – cool ocean breezes in my face, and a cold margarita in my hand.
I logged into the site, listened to all the auction banter, and watched the bulls go by on my screen. My personal bull choices were laid out on a spreadsheet before me, and I followed along in the full-color bull catalogue.
I allowed myself to be outbid on the first bull on my list, and was disappointed when my second choice was pulled out of the sale. I kept bidding on the third bull, and every time I hit the “BID” button on my laptop, I got a “You’re IN” on my screen, and heard the auctioneer up his price.
My competition for this bull could have been in person, on the phone, over the internet, or he might even have submitted a reserve bid prior to the sale. But when I hit the button on $5500, the bidding stopped, and SOLD showed up on my screen.
I’ve sent in a check - and my bull will be delivered to the ranch the next time a trailer is headed my way.