When stock contractors get together to do something, they do it in a big way. Such is the case with Benny Binion’s World Famous Bucking Horse & Bull Sale.
It’s been an annual tradition since the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) moved to Las Vegas. It was first held at the Thomas & Mack Center. When the schedule became tight to get everything accomplished they moved the sale to the South Point Equestrian Center. It now encompasses a variety of events and gives people the chance to buy and sell bucking horses and bulls as well as pickup horses.
Showcasing some of the animals happened at the PRCA Permit Challenge on Thursday, Dec. 3rd. Friday horses competed in Stace Smith’s World Futurity Bronc Finale. The sale started on Saturday with bucking bulls and finished with the horses from the futurity.
For the second year, Nate Morrison from Potato Creek, S.D., coordinated the sale. He spent hours going over videos and screening potential candidates, interviewed the owners and worked with sales staff, the facilities and the committee. The sale committee includes stock contractors, Jim and T.J. Korkow, Dave Moorehead, Sammy Andrews, Mike Corey, Hal Burns, Dona Vold Larsen, and John Barnes.
It’s important for all of these people on a variety of levels. And, they donate their time and involve their fellow contractors and families to make the event a success.
“The sale isn’t just about the animals being showcased and sold, it’s also about opportunities,” Moorehead said. “We give young people the opportunity to get on in Las Vegas and we can encourage them. We raise money for the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and give scholarships. The sale is all about preserving our past and protecting the future.”
Some of the animals at this year’s NFR also had their first Las Vegas experience at the sale. Last year, Stace Smith and Smith Pro Rodeo sold a five-year-old bay gelding named Curly Bill. The horse was purchased at the sale by C5 Rodeo Company for $71,000. That was the horse that carried CoBurn Bradshaw to his very first round win on Friday night at the second performance.
The sale netted over $1 million in sales for the second consecutive year. One of the high-selling horses came from former NFR saddle bronc rider Mike Outhier. A five-year-old bay stallion that Outhier named after the first time he ever bucked him. He felt like the horse had so much potential that he called him Mr. December because he was confident that the horse would be on the NFR roster in the future. That horse sold on Saturday for $49,500 to this year’s PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year, Jerry Nelson and Frontier Rodeo.
Korkows sold a four-year-old paint gelding that also came out of the futurity. His name is Eskimo Fo, and C5 Rodeo purchased the horse for $40,000 hoping that he will be here next year and get them another go-round buckle.
“We raise 40 – 45 prospects a year,” Jim Korkow said. “They are from bloodlines we started in the mid-50s and they are from a breeding program that we started in the 20s. We’ve been very successful with our breeding program. Consequently I’ve got lots and lots of horses at our ranch. I try to sell a couple of those good horses every year to supplement my income.”
Not only are rodeo contestants getting more money at this year’s NFR, payments to stock contractors have increased significantly. The increase undoubtedly encouraged sales and motivates breeders to bring their best animals to the sale hoping they will be at the NFR next year.
“I’m very pleased with the results this year,” Morrison said. “I think the money for the stock contractors is a big incentive for these guys. It’s an honor to put on a sale that carries Benny Binion’s name, but with that comes a huge responsibility. It takes a lot of people and a lot of cooperation to make it all work. We all try to make it better each year.”
The committee decided that they could use proceeds from the sale to help the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1998 and since that time, over $820,000 has been donated. It truly is an event to preserve the past and protect the future of rodeo.