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Tue, Oct. 15

Ranchers, cowboys descend on Prescott for annual competition, livestock auctions

The Cattleman's Weekend, which has combined several events over the past 13 years in Prescott, drew 800 to 1,000 people Friday but was expected to draw a smaller crowd Saturday, Kathy McCraine said.

McCraine, who raises horses on her ranch in Camp Wood north of Prescott, said 30 horses sold for a combined $100,000 Friday. She added that about 100 bulls were up for sale during the two auctions Saturday.

The Cattleman's Weekend provides a convenient location for one-stop shopping, according to McCraine.

"This is one place where they come and buy their bulls so they don't have to travel around the state," she said. "And the same thing (applies) for the horse sale."

Rancher Debbie Hooper, owner with husband Steve of the Hooper Cattle Co. in Quemado, N.M., near Springerville in Arizona, apparently agreed.

Hooper said she brought five bulls to the 30th annual Arizona Hereford Association Bull Sale and the fourth annual Arizona Angus Association Bull Sale Saturday morning.

Contacted afterward, Hooper said her top Angus bull sold for $2,000.

"That's very good," she said. "We're happy."

During the auction, Hooper led her bulls around a small dirt-lined ring inside the metal auction barn as Bill Lefty conducted the auction with his rapid-fire delivery.

Vic Howell, one of several people who packed a barn that can hold an estimated 300 people, said he attended the bull auction to look at the bulls and visit with other ranchers. He attended the sixth annual Invitational Arizona Ranch Remuda Sale – the only horse sale of its kind in Arizona – Friday night.

Howell, ranch manager for the Babbitt family in Flagstaff, said judges give a lot of weight to confirmation.

"You are wanting muscle for meat, and you are wanting physical structure so they can do the job as a bull," Howell explained.

The auction also drew Scott Westlake, an employee of the McCraines who showed up to replace aging bulls that he sold at a separate venue. He said he sold the bulls because they were too old for breeding at the age of 10.

Westlake said he was looking for "a quality bull that is ready to make a living on the range and stay sound and healthy enough to breed (mate) a cow this spring."

The morning auction drew a largely male crowd dressed in jeans and cowboy hats.

A few women showed up as well, such as Sara M. Abedi, a dairyman's daughter who works in technical sales support for Westside Milling Co. in Phoenix. A female colleague accompanied Abedi.

Prescott-area rancher Diane Storm went to the Cattleman's Weekend, accompanied by husband Jim and granddaughters Jessie and McKenna Smith of Phoenix.

Diane admitted to an unusual pleasure while she walked around the stalls adjoining the barn and took photos with her digital camera. She loves the aroma of cattle and horse manure.

"Seriously, no bull," she said. "There is nothing like coffee and cowpies in the morning. Seriously, they make good Frisbees."

The event also drew two representatives of the Arizona Department of Agriculture: livestock inspector Fred Stiles, based in Camp Verde, and livestock officer Terry Schultz of Pres-cott.

Stiles said he attended to check the ownership of animals that were for sale and make sure owners from out of state brought the necessary health papers for the animals.

Also for sale were products on display during the trade show on both days. Vendors promoted and sold livestock equipment, farm credit, purses, saddles, horse wormers and other products and services.

Contact the reporter at khedler@prescottaz.com

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