By Susan Dudasik, Salmon, Idaho
Facebook – Misfit Farm Mules
Despite being held on Friday, April 13, 2012, and faced with predicted stormy weather, the 13th Annual Salmon Select Mule Sale in Salmon, Idaho was an overwhelming success with its largest recorded attendance to date. The day proved to be an extra lucky one for Scott and Sandy Sallee of Emigrant, Montana. They’ve been consignors for 10 years and this year their black mule Cash earned the High-Selling Mule title. The 9-year-old Tennessee Walker john mule was purchased by the JD Ranch of Twin Bridges, Mont., for $7,000. Nevada, a red roan molly consigned by Jeff and Christina Tift of Banner, Wyo., was the Reserve High-Selling Mule. She was purchased by Lana Nelson, of Stevensville, Mont., for $5,500. The Sallee’s other mule Lilly Langtry captured third place honors bringing $5,100. Enos Borntrager of Seymour, Iowa sold his mule Dixie for $5,000 to take fourth place honors.
According to sale manager Fred Snook, the top five mules averaged $5,460 and the top ten mules averaged $4,560. Forty-seven mules sold for $112,000 to average $2,382. Last year’s average on 53 mules was $2,234. Mules were consigned from folks in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Iowa. Buyers were from those states also as well as Arizona, Washington and Oregon. The mule sale is held in conjunction with the Salmon Select Horse Sale which celebrated its 40th anniversary.
This year’s horse sale featured 115 horses with Four Ever Drifter, an AQHA registered gelding, earning the title of High-Selling Horse. The 8-year-old bay was consigned by Dan and Becky Miller of Rexburg, Idaho, and purchased by Mark Stark of Challis, Idaho for $9,400.
Prior to the sale, some of the consigned mules were put through their paces as they competed in trail and packing competitions. Twelve mules were entered in the competition. Enos Borntrager took home the Championship Trail Mule buckle as well as second and third place honors with his three mules, Kate, Dixie, and Dolly.
Six mules were entered in the in-hand packing competition. The contest was won by Daisy, an 11-year-old paint molly mule consigned by Ray Woodside of Potomac, Montana. Coming in second was Ruth, a 12-year-old buckskin molly consigned by Jaren Whitman. Ruth was purchased by Dennis Ludington of Hannett, Idaho, for $4,200.
A new event had been added this year; the 400 yard Jeff Allen Memorial Mule Race. Firefighters Allen, age 24, and his partner Shane Heath, age 22, from Boise, Idaho, were killed while battling a wild fire near Salmon in 2003. Six sale mules competed in a lap and tap race. Crossing the finish line first was Henry, a black john mule consigned and ridden by Hoot Dotson of Gooding, Idaho. Henry was purchased by Joe Anderson of Idaho Falls, Idaho, for $2,400. Close on Henry’s heels was Nevada, the Reserve High-Selling Mule ridden by Jeff Tiff. Finishing third was Sylvester, a 12-year-old dun/paint john mule consigned by Hayden Smith of Lewiston, Utah, and purchased by Mike Probst of Dillon, Montana, for $2,000. The race offered a winning purse of $500 with $300 for second and $200 for third. According to Snook, the race was a great success and real crowd pleaser.
The sale mules weren’t the only ones involved in the sale activities. For several years Richard Escott and his mule have served as the official sale ring escort for both the horse and mule sales. Thanks to the steadfastness of his mule, Maggie, Escott has successfully led nervous equines into the sale ring and helps keep those entering the ring lined out.
Members of the Salmon Backcountry Horsemen used their personal mules during a hands-on packing clinic to teach folks various ways of packing, hitches and knot tying. Misfit Farm’s Otto Watch Ginger, a 22-year-old molly mule, was used for the “Groundwork: Beyond the Roundpen,” demonstration in which the black mule was used to demonstrate working on the lunge line, ground driving, long lining and various in-hand trail maneuvers.
Thirteen years ago the Salmon Select Mule Sale featured mostly mules brought in by local folks. Today it draws consignors and buyers from through the northwest and many consignors have already asked to be included in next year’s sale. For complete sale results contact Fred Snook, Jr. at (208) 756-2125 or visit the website at: http://salmonselectsale.com/