Steamboat Springs One of the last regional bull sales of the year is being held in Routt County again.
Viewing of the animals at the sixth annual North Western Colorado Bull Sale begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden.
Consigners from Walden, South Routt County, Hayden, Carbondale, Collbran, Craig and Hotchkiss are bringing 59 bulls and 25 heifers to the auction, according to Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance.
"We're going to have some very nice bulls and nice heifers," she said.
Cattle producers also can bid on a rack of semen.
The auction is being organized by the Community Agriculture Alliance, Routt County CattleWomen and the Routt County branch of the Colorado State University Extension Service.
Daughenbaugh said the bull sale is a way for cattle producers to buy and sell cattle locally. She said the sale has developed a strong reputation, becoming more popular every year.
"Each year we are seeing this thing grow," Daughenbaugh said.
The first bull sale in 2003 netted $68,250 in sales. Last year, there were $88,000 in sales, with the 45 bulls selling for an average of $1,844.
Extension Agent CJ Mucklow said he anticipates prices being similar to what they were last year.
"The cattle market is a bit marginal," Mucklow said, citing high corn prices.
The CattleWomen will offer a reasonably priced lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be baked beans, salads and, of course, beef.
Rancher Troy Allen will begin the auction at 1 p.m. Bill Gay will provide colorful commentary.
The original mission of the bull sale when it began in 2003 was to support local cattle producers, and that still is the case. Unlike other auctions, 100 percent of the bid price goes to the consigners.
"It's also starting to become a social event for the agriculture people," Daughenbaugh said.
New to the auction this year, consigners and registered buyers will be given a ballot before the sale and be asked to choose the top two bulls.
The cattle producers will be looking at a wide variety of breeds and analyzing things such as how the bull looks, how it stands and its temperament.
Whichever bull is most popular will be named the Rancher's Choice and sold first. The second favorite bull, the Crowd Favorite, will be sold next.
This structure ideally will set a good tone for the rest of the sale, Daughenbaugh said. It also will encourage buyers and consigners to walk through the pens before the auction.