Steamboat Springs Soggy conditions threatened to put a damper on the Northwest Colorado Bull Sale, but the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden dried enough to hold a successful auction.
"It was really probably much better than we deserved considering what was happening," said Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance. "We got really lucky."
Water from Dry Creek spilled over its banks last week, flooding parts of Hayden, including the fairgrounds. Crews worked to mediate some of the flooding, and the grounds were dry enough by Friday -- just in time to truck in the livestock for the late-season auction.
The auction was the most successful of the event's four years, Daughenbaugh said, with total sales surpassing $110,000. In two hours, two pens of five heifers sold for $8,750, and 46 bulls sold for an average of about $2,200. Last year, 41 bulls sold for an average of $2,087. One of the three Black Angus bulls that Lee Gittleson brought to the sale was the top-seller, at $3,400.
The auction was the last cattle sale of the season in Northwest Colorado. "All of the bulls that went this year were just nice quality bulls," Daughenbaugh said.
The auction is meant to support local cattle producers. It benefits producers by giving their livestock some exposure and can provide some savings to buyers.
"It gives some of the local ranchers a place to go buy bulls without having to travel very far," Gittleson said.
Bulls were purchased by producers in nearby counties in addition to producers from Wyoming and Utah. The two heifer pens will stay in Routt County.
"Of all the bulls that were sold, we had 18 that stayed in the Routt County area," Daughenbaugh said. "This evidently is meeting a need for cattle producers in our area."
Of the 53 registered buyers, 31 made purchases, Daughenbaugh said. Many of the bidders had attended the auction in past years.
The auction also provided a networking opportunity for producers. Two people were invited to speak about agriculture issues.
John Heller of the Colorado Department of Agriculture spoke about future U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. Heller is the coordinator for the Animal Identification Program. Soon, identification tags may be required on all livestock to help protect the food supply.
The auction was organized by the Community Agriculture All--iance, Routt County Cattle--Women and the Colorado State Univ--ersity Extension Service.