Kansas Buffalo Sale Celebrates 25th Anniversary
September 8, 2014
The fall buffalo sale season is upon us, and many ranchers have reason to celebrate as they reap the year-end receipts from selling offspring and yearly production. The Kansas Buffalo Association has even more reason to celebrate. This year marks the KBA’s 25th Annual Fall Sale.
The first KBA meeting was Feb. 24, 1990, and had as its primary goal to create an opportunity for small and larger producers alike to bring animals together in one place to increase commercial value. The first sale was held that fall on Nov. 13.
The first sales were held on the Tuesdays before the Maxwell Refuge Wednesday sales in Canton, Kan. The Maxwell Sale is held before the Custer Sate Park Sale. The idea was to give buyers an opportunity to attend both Kansas sales in a single trip, increasing buyers and sellers to the KBA sale.
As the KBA sale grew, it became impractical to hold it on a Tuesday because the sale venue had sales every Monday and Thursday, and the size of the KBA event was filling buyers’ trucks. Holding it close to the Maxwell Sale became of less value for both events. The KBA decided to stake a claim to the first Saturday in December, the date it remains.
Another constant is the venue. From the beginning, the KBA sales have been at the Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Company, Salina, Kan.
Some sales across the nation have come and gone, but the KBA sale has remained and now is one of the most-recognized commercial barometers in the bison industry. Other sales have had added value in the breeding stock sector, and others in the show circuit, but the KBA sale has been a true test of the production model of the bison industry.
The KBA sale has been and remains an open-consignment sale that has drawn buyers and sellers from across the nation. Buyers from 30 states have been represented at the sale over the years, ranging from Maine to California. Consignments have come from just as many states.
More than 13,000 buffalo worth $8.6 million have passed through the KBA auction ring. At the first sale in 1990, 97 animals were sold. The largest sale was in 2000 when 1200 buffalo were sold. Up to this point, every animal was sold individually, which meant that the 2000 sale lasted eleven hours. The KBA made changes the next year.
Now, the ring is run more like a production sale with volume buyers in mind. Animals are sorted by size and quality from each consignor’s offerings. Buyers can bid on an individual animal, but unless a buyer asks for that opportunity before a bid is obtained, the entire lot is sold for the winning bid amount or “times the money". All buffalo are sold by class, consignor and size.
Dr. David Palmer, the first KBA secretary/treasurer, a position he held until his passing in 2005, led the KBA as it established itself as an association and a sale. He gave much to the association and to the sale. His people developed the computer program that is used today and contributed many gifts over the years, but the greatest gift he brought was his secretary Pauline Ramsey. She took notes for him, and after his passing Pauline stayed with the KBA and remains today as the executive secretary. This type of dedication in Pauline and many others is what has made this sale work, and work well.
The cornerstone for success over the years is the large volume of help the KBA members contribute. Some sale barn help is used during the sale, but the unloading, penning, sorting, feeding, watering and load out is handled by KBA volunteers.
Just as important is the outstanding support of Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Commission Company personnel Mike Samples, Kyle Elwood, Jake Jacobson, Carole Bremerman and others. They have graciously welcomed the KBA for all 24 years and 30 total sales. (There were six spring sales from 2001 through 2006.) The KBA is forever indebted to them.
The auctioneers have changed. Floyd Gehring called the first sale. Roger Johnson, Gehring and other sale barn auctioneers called the next five years of sales. From 1996 through 1999, Jud Seaman and Ron Bradeen were in the auction block. Ron did most of the auctioning, and Jud added color and brought industry insight to the ring. In 2000, the KBA decided to use sale barn auctioneers.Since then, Kyle Elwood and Rusty Taylor have done an outstanding job of taking bids and moving the sale along.
Like the auctioneers, the sale order has changed over the years and now is based on supply and demand indicators. Another change that has been dramatic is the quality of stock offered. Consignors and buyers have gotten smarter, wiser and educated over the years. This has proved to enhance the overall quality of production animals and seed stock alike.
Join us for the KBA’s 25th celebration on Saturday, Dec. 6! Consignment unloading begins in the yards at noon Friday, and a buyers and consignors reception will be held Friday night on site in the café. Load-out begins as soon as the calves are sold and continues through noon Sunday.
Hope to see you all there.
NBA Board Director, District 4
Owner/Operator Black Kettle Buffalo, Moundridge, Kan.
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