Livestock auction kicks off in Steamboat
More than 346,000 head of cattle at auction, worth an estimated $240 million
July 6, 2010
Steamboat Springs — More than 346,000 head of cattle are for sale this week from Steamboat Springs.
Superior Livestock Auction General Manager Jim Odle said the Week in the Rockies XXII auction, which started Monday and runs through Saturday at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, is probably the largest cattle auction ever.
"We are the largest livestock market in the world," said Odle, who helped found Superior, of Brush. "We offer cattle from Florida to Washington state — all across the country."
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Odle said the auction allows people to buy cattle by placing bids in person, by telephone or online. The auction and video of the cattle for sale are being broadcast on television — Dish Network Channel 231 and DirectTV Channel 345 in addition to more than 30 cable networks — and online at http://www.superiorlivestock.com.
"We basically provide a service that is different from other livestock auctions," said Superior Representative Carson Womble, who works with sellers. "We try to present cattle in as many ways as possible on TV and the Internet."
Womble said that exposure helps create a more competitive market for buyers and sellers.
The biggest advantage of the auction style is it leaves cattle in the pasture, Odle said. He said they're not shipped and stored where they could be exposed to infection or disease before being sent to buyers.
Hank Payne's five lots, totaling about 600 head of cattle, will be auctioned starting today.
Despite the recession, Payne, of New Braunfels, Texas, said he hopes he'll get market price for his cattle.
"The economy is always a factor, the overall economy," he said. "We produce a good product, but somebody's got to have money."
Payne said the current demand for cattle is OK, not good or bad.
Terrill Ostrum, a buyer for Crossroads Cattle Co., a brokerage with offices in Lincoln, Neb., and Austin, Texas, said it's actually a good time to be in the cattle business.
"It's one of the few times we've seen all sectors of the livestock market doing well," he said about cattle raising operations, feedlots and the packing industry.
Ostrum, who estimated that he would buy 2,500 to 5,000 head of cattle for Crossroads, said the market for cattle was about $700 per head, making the livestock available at the auction worth more than $240 million.
Sellers can choose to accept or decline the auction sale of their cattle, so not all the lots will be sold, Odle said.
Even though buyers can place bids by phone or online, Odle said he expected the auction to attract 1,500 to 2,000 people during the week.
Superior will host a steak dinner Thursday, at which Odle said more than 1,000 buyers and sellers are expected to be served. The dinner will include entertainment provided by country musician Avery Michaels and Exit 209.
Odle, who used to travel to Steamboat to serve as an auctioneer in the late 1960s, said the auction has been held in the city several times in its 22 years.
In addition to the business of the livestock auction, Odle said the weeklong event allows ranchers from across the country to meet one another and enjoy some of the recreational activities Steamboat offers.
Joan Murray said she and her husband, Ed, a representative for Superior, made the trip to Steamboat from Spur, Texas, and look forward to activities in addition to the auction.
"We just like to come to Steamboat," she said. "We live in West Texas where we don't have mountains and trees and water running everywhere. We're native Coloradans, displaced for 45 years. He likes to sell his cattle and go fishing. … We enjoy the peace and quiet of the area."
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