About 60 bulls were auctioned off in the 41st annual Bull Sale. Ken Van Dyke is the owner of one of two ranches selling bulls at Headwaters Livestock in Three Forks, Montana. He says this one-day event determines the rest of the year.
“We put the whole calf crop on the line in one day, couple hours, we know if we’re gonna have a good year or a bad year. If you have a bad day, you got 365 days till the next one to worry about it,” says Van Dyke.
As for some buyers, this one day event is used to replace their own bulls.
“Bulls get hurt, get old, whatever. So, we have to replace them with newer, younger bulls plus the genetics,” says Pat Verlanic, a buyer at the auction.
Genetics seems to be an important factor when purchasing bulls. For Van Dyke, having the perfect bull for sale comes a little easier with record-keeping.
“There’s 60 years of data behind these bulls. I mean, dam grand I can go 12 generations on a lot of them,” says Van Dyke.
If you’re thinking about the price for one of these bulls. Well, Van Dyke says that the price varies ranging from probably about $4,000 to as high as $20,000, maybe even more.
“The key is make sure you got enough people to buy your bulls,” says Van Dyke.
And when you have those people, you can bring them together for an auction like this.
“It’s like any auction, car or cattle. I mean, there’s an excitement with it and an adrenaline rush with it,” says Verlanic.
That adrenaline leads to money for Van Dyke and his cattle business.
“Everybody needs a little money to stay in business. Farmers and ranchers are crazy people. We’ve learned to survive and adapt. No one’s out to simply make a fortune, but we do it because we love it,” says Van Dyke.
Hyline Angus Ranch is a family-owned cattle business. They have been in business for over 60 years.