Rope Horses Rock

From professional grade to weekend warriors, a dandy set of rope of horses - 101 in all - headlined Billings Livestock’s tenth annual spring “Rope Horse Special” catalog sale April 25-26.

With a final tally of 984 horses and 30 roping steers, the rope horses showed and glowed at a pre-sale jackpot held Friday afternoon in the BLS arena.

Welcoming 126 teams, the tell-all competition allowed the consignors to show their horses in a contest setting and gave buyers the opportunity to closely shop the rope horse rides.

They put it on three steers in 21.29 and the team of Britt Givens, Riverton, WY and Justin Hammerich, Banner, WY claimed the jackpot championship, Masters Saddles breast collars, and $332 per man.

Rope horses ruled the high sellers listing as the top two selling horses of the weekend - a calf horse and a head horse - brought $16,000 and $14,000 respectively.

The top 20 rope horses - head, heel, breakaway, or calf rope - averaged $7,250.

The sale weekend saw 86 percent completed sales, marketing horses to 21 states and Canada.

Leading the charge was Hip 159 “CW MR Grape Juice” a 2001 AQHA Bay gelding x Smart Like Juice and out of a Mr. Melody Jac daughter.

Just call him the business, the fancy, finished calf horse came trained, shown, and consigned by PRCA Million-dollar cowboy Brent Lewis, Eloy, AZ.

Dennis Ludington, Ephraim, UT purchased the quality rodeo gelding for $16,000.

With 23 National Finals Rodeo qualifications between them and 16 appearances at the National Finals Steer Roping, Billings Livestock was proud to offer horses consigned by Million dollar cowboy and World Champion Team Roper Bobby Harris, current World Champion Saddle Bronc rider J.J. Elshire, eleven-time NFR qualifer Brent Lewis, and National Finals Steer Ropers J.R. Olson and Ora Taton.

Back at the sale, runner-up honors went to Hip 24 “Onyx” a grade, 12 year-old black gelding offered by Turner Performance Horses, Victor, MT.

Head, heel, or run barrels, the all-in-one super horse brought $14,000 and sold to Elke Edwards, Gillette, WY.

Number three in rope horse rank was Hip 185 “Jackson Kyd” - another 12 year-old black gelding, this one AQHA registered and sired by Three Chicks Flash - came offered by Travis Elings, Helena, MT.

Rope one or 20, you had the same horse run after run and the quiet, gentle, dependable ride sold to Marty McMillan, Lodgepole, NE for $12,000.

Pat and Connie Fitzgerald, Fitgerald Cutting Horses, Paoli, OK, home of the $4 million dollar sire “Smart Mate” offered Hip 134 “Tomson Cat” a 91 AQHA sorrel mare x Son O Doc.

The NCHA money earning mare sold with a Smart Mate baby at side and bred back to Smart Mate for 2009.

David Day, Broadus, MT purchased the package for $12,500.

Good horses, both mares and geldings - fit, ready, and riding - continued to wield their market power at Billings Livestock - catalog sale averages beat 2007 figures all the way through.

Here are the facts: the top five selling horses averaged $12,900 compared to $11,640 in ’07; top ten averaged $11,000 versus $9,600 last year; top 20 at $8,965 likened to $8,205 one year ago, top 50 came in at $6,444 compared to $6,212, and on the top 100 - $4,724 in ’08 against $4,694 in ’07.

The trend continues and the gap inches wider - the thinner, less experienced horses face challenged demand.

On the loose horse side, the top-end market horses and prospects held their own ground, however, the middle and bottom end - the younger, thinner, poorer quality individuals, met with a softened market.

Loose averages show the top five bringing $1,650, $1,500, and three horses at $1,300 each for an average sale price of $1,410; top ten loose brought $1,192, top 20 came in at $949, top 50 brought $675, and the top 100 averaged $512.

Billings Livestock’s next sale event is set for May 24 - 25 and will feature the annual “Cow Country Classic” catalog sale in addition to the “Best of the Remuda” Ranch Gelding competition. Featured in May will be Ranch geldings along with kid’s ponies and horses.


Ranch Horse competition is set for 3 p.m. Friday, May 23 in the BLS Arena.

Cattle will be available both days to preview the rope horses and cutting horses.

For more information, to consign or request a catalog, contact Bill and Jann Parker, BLS Horse Sale Managers at 406-245-4151 or see it all at