Salmon Select Mule Sale Continues to Grow in 2012


By Susan Dudasik, Salmon, Idaho
misfitfarms@centurylink.net
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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/

Salmon Select Mule Sale Featured Wide Variety Of Mules

by Susan Dudasik

The 14th Annual Salmon Mule Sale held April 12 in Salmon, Idaho, drew its largest crowd ever. Fifty-seven mules sold for $163,350 for an average of $2,870. According to Sale Chairman Fred Snook, “This was an increase of more than $50,000 higher than the 2012 sale. Last year, 47 mules sold for $112,000 to average $2,382.” This year mules were sold to buyers in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Utah and California. And, Butch, an 8-year-old john mule will be going to Hawaii. Seven mules were purchased by local residents.


Topping the sale was Bud, a bay 16-hand, 8-year-old john mule, consigned by Colby and Codi Gines of Powell, Wyo., and purchased by Tom Sellin of Eagle, Idaho, for $6,800. For having the high-seller, Gines received the $1,000 sale bonus plus a Montana Silversmith trophy buckle.

The Reserve High-Selling mule was Elvis, a 9-year-old buckskin john consigned by Enos Borntrager of Salem, Arkansas, and purchased by Gerald Elliot of Seeley Lake, Mont., for $6,500. Borntrager also had the third high-selling mule, Gertrude, a 6-year-old bay molly purchased by Dorothy Eppich of Basin City, Wash., for $5,800.

Aside from the mule sale, there were plenty of competitive events for the sale mules to demonstrate their talents. First was the mule packing contest in which the packer had to demonstrate that the mule was able to pick up all four feet, trailer load, stand while being packed, go over a raised wooden bridge and weave through tightly spaced poles without knocking them over. The packing event was won by Rosie, a 14.2-hand, 8-year-old molly consigned by Warren Matthews. Placing second was Daisy May, a 14.1-hand, 12-year-old paint molly shown by Amber Wagoner of Dillon, Mont., an agent for Victor Nettles.

Events moved from packing to racing, as seven mules were entered in the second annual Jeff Allen Memorial Race. This race is held in memory of Jeff Allen a 24-year-old local firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty. Allen and his partner, 22-year-old Shane Heath from Boise, Idaho, died while fighting a forest fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest July 22, 2003. Spectators packed the fairgrounds stands as the mules ran the 400 yard lap and tap race. Crossing the finish line first was Colby Gines riding Reba. Close on her heels was Rosie ridden by Warren Matthews, followed by Kristy and Joe Studiner. Local trainer Joe Miller came in fourth riding Dynamite. Prize money was awarded at $600 for first, $300 for second, $200 for third and $100 for fourth.

After the race, it was over to the trail arena where the mules demonstrated their trail skills on 10 different obstacles including trailer loading, crossing a water ditch and dragging a log. This year it was the girls’ time to shine as the top scoring mules were all mollies. There was a tie for first place between Lena Bradford’s mule, Josie, and Daisy May, ridden by Amber Wagoner. Third place went to Sarah, consigned by Brad Ford and fourth was Maggie, ridden by Enos Bortrager.

There’s a saying, “Mules do it all,” and two mules proved that statement as they excelled in different events. Daisy May tied for first place in the trail class and was second in packing. She sold for $4,600. Rosie, who won the packing, placed second in the race and competed in the trail class sold for $2,900. She’s also broke to drive.

On a sad note, this year the SSS family recently lost one of its own. Richard Escott was a local outfitter’s guide who served as the official sale ring escort for both the horse and mule sales. Riding his steadfast little spotted mule, Maggie, Escott had successfully led hundreds of nervous equines into the sale ring and helped keep those entering the ring lined out. Both of Escott’s mules, Maggie and Dynamite, were sold during the sale.

The first Salmon Select Mule sale was held in 2000 in conjunction with the Salmon Select Horse Sale which celebrated its 41st anniversary the day after the mule sale. During that first sale, the high selling mule went for $3,000 and the reserve brought $2,000. The sale gross was $34,400. The average on 22 mules was $1,563. Next year the Salmon Select Mule Sale will celebrate its 15th anniversary. Plans are already under way to celebrate this milestone in a big way. Folks are already consigning mules for this sale. For complete sale results and more sale information contact Fred Snook, Jr. at (208) 756-2125 or visit the website at: http://salmonselectsale.com/.

Susan Dudasik is an equine journalist, PATH Certified riding instructor and a mule enthusiast. She's competed in numerous trail class events, holds clinics and teaches groundwork and trail classes at Misfit Farm in Salmon, Idaho. The advice given here is meant only as a guide. A professional trainer should handle any serious horse training problems.