Last week's Red Bluff Bull & Gelding Sale featured hundreds of animals - and hundreds of thousands of dollars - changing hands at the Tehama District Fairgrounds. Rick Carhart was at the sale today. His mission: to find the biggest, baddest bull there.
Don Cardey has been selling animals at the Bull And Gelding Sale for 54 years, and there's a reason he keeps coming back.
Don says, "they're really tough on quality... We sift the bulls, if they're not good enough they kick 'em out, and I believe in that."
Sale manager Adam Owens says, "they've been scrutinized by professionals who've been around cattle their entire lives, and they've said they're good enough to sell."
Cardey brought 20 bulls to this year's sale, and "number 44" is the Grand Champion. At the tender age of 22 months, he weighs in at 2,120 pounds. Cardey knew he had a winner, but it's always up to the judges.
Don says, "they know what they're looking for... We don't always agree with them but we can discuss it, agree to disagree if we want, but seeing as how I won this year I thought they did a heck of a job."
Cardey's bull will be first up at the auction on Saturday morning, and with nearly 400 bulls set to be sold, the action will be fast and furious.
Adam says, "there's a lot of excitement in the auction ring, especially when the champions are selling and you have guys out there that have got their eyes set on them... They're put in a situation where they might have had a budget in mind and they have to make a snap decision whether or not they want to go past their budget and get that bull bought."
Exciting for the buyers, and nerve-wracking for the sellers, because you can't predict prices at a livestock auction.
Don says, "if I had to guess I'd say between $5 and 10-thousand... I'd like to be happy... Surprised."
Whatever happens, you can bet Don Cardey will be back again next year, just as he has for more than half a century.
According to the organizers, the sale brings in between $7-10 million to the local economy, and with ranchers coming from all over the western United States, hotels are booked as far away as Corning and Anderson.