Heather Smith Thomas

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July 18, 2011
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Salmon Select Horse Sale finds forty years of success

The most well-known horse event in eastern Idaho started 40 years ago. Though it draws people from all over the West and beyond, it evolved from small beginnings. The first sale held in 1971 was a production sale by Fred Snook, Sr., and Ed Jones, men who loved raising and racing horses.

Fred Snook Jr. was sale manager. "Most of the horses were yearlings and broodmares, but there were a few geldings and riding horses. It was held at the old sales yard, which had a narrow ring for cattle, with no room to ride horses. We just led them through," Snook says. The first sale total was $8,545, and the high-selling horse sold for $640.

Several consignors went together to produce the 1973 sale, when horses brought a total of $14,000. There's been an annual sale ever since, moving to its present location at the Lemhi County Fairgrounds in Salmon, ID, where it acquired an indoor arena. Now known the Salmon Select Horse Sale, the emphasis is on good quality horses for competitive events, pleasure or ranch work.

The number of horses - and prices - has dramatically increased over the years. "This year, even with a depressed horse market, the horses brought over $300,000 and the high-selling horse brought $14,500. This was a 13-year-old Quarter horse stallion, and the most well-trained horse we've ever had at our sale. The lady who sold him put on a fantastic display of horsemanship," Snook says.

As the sale grew, other activities were added - a 4-H stallion auction, food concession by local 4-H clubs, and the High School Rodeo Club started a fundraising horse raffle. Artists and craftsmen set up booths with more than 50 vendors from all over the West with their work and products on display. During the early 1990s, western art was carried through the ring and sold by lot numbers.

The Salmon Roping Club hosts an all-day roping on Sunday. Barrel racing is Friday evening, along with a mule sale. Idaho and Montana mule owners were contacted about the first mule sale 12 years ago. "They said it would never work," recalls Snook. So John Burns, now retired supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service, traveled back east and bought a trailer load of mules. That first sale offered 22 mules and a dog.

The 2011 mule sale featured 53 mules, with buyers from Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, California, Texas and Minnesota. The high-selling mule was consigned from Iowa, selling to a California man for $9,000. The second high-selling mule was from Belgrade, MT, and sold to a buyer in Texas.

The horse sale the next day featured 140 horses from 80 consignors from Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and California.

The most well-known horse event in eastern Idaho started 40 years ago. Though it draws people from all over the West and beyond, it evolved from small beginnings. The first sale held in 1971 was a production sale by Fred Snook, Sr., and Ed Jones, men who loved raising and racing horses.

Fred Snook Jr. was sale manager. "Most of the horses were yearlings and broodmares, but there were a few geldings and riding horses. It was held at the old sales yard, which had a narrow ring for cattle, with no room to ride horses. We just led them through," Snook says. The first sale total was $8,545, and the high-selling horse sold for $640.

Several consignors went together to produce the 1973 sale, when horses brought a total of $14,000. There's been an annual sale ever since, moving to its present location at the Lemhi County Fairgrounds in Salmon, ID, where it acquired an indoor arena. Now known the Salmon Select Horse Sale, the emphasis is on good quality horses for competitive events, pleasure or ranch work.

The number of horses - and prices - has dramatically increased over the years. "This year, even with a depressed horse market, the horses brought over $300,000 and the high-selling horse brought $14,500. This was a 13-year-old Quarter horse stallion, and the most well-trained horse we've ever had at our sale. The lady who sold him put on a fantastic display of horsemanship," Snook says.

As the sale grew, other activities were added - a 4-H stallion auction, food concession by local 4-H clubs, and the High School Rodeo Club started a fundraising horse raffle. Artists and craftsmen set up booths with more than 50 vendors from all over the West with their work and products on display. During the early 1990s, western art was carried through the ring and sold by lot numbers.

The Salmon Roping Club hosts an all-day roping on Sunday. Barrel racing is Friday evening, along with a mule sale. Idaho and Montana mule owners were contacted about the first mule sale 12 years ago. "They said it would never work," recalls Snook. So John Burns, now retired supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service, traveled back east and bought a trailer load of mules. That first sale offered 22 mules and a dog.

The 2011 mule sale featured 53 mules, with buyers from Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, California, Texas and Minnesota. The high-selling mule was consigned from Iowa, selling to a California man for $9,000. The second high-selling mule was from Belgrade, MT, and sold to a buyer in Texas.

The horse sale the next day featured 140 horses from 80 consignors from Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and California.

The most well-known horse event in eastern Idaho started 40 years ago. Though it draws people from all over the West and beyond, it evolved from small beginnings. The first sale held in 1971 was a production sale by Fred Snook, Sr., and Ed Jones, men who loved raising and racing horses.

Fred Snook Jr. was sale manager. "Most of the horses were yearlings and broodmares, but there were a few geldings and riding horses. It was held at the old sales yard, which had a narrow ring for cattle, with no room to ride horses. We just led them through," Snook says. The first sale total was $8,545, and the high-selling horse sold for $640.

Several consignors went together to produce the 1973 sale, when horses brought a total of $14,000. There's been an annual sale ever since, moving to its present location at the Lemhi County Fairgrounds in Salmon, ID, where it acquired an indoor arena. Now known the Salmon Select Horse Sale, the emphasis is on good quality horses for competitive events, pleasure or ranch work.

The number of horses - and prices - has dramatically increased over the years. "This year, even with a depressed horse market, the horses brought over $300,000 and the high-selling horse brought $14,500. This was a 13-year-old Quarter horse stallion, and the most well-trained horse we've ever had at our sale. The lady who sold him put on a fantastic display of horsemanship," Snook says.

As the sale grew, other activities were added - a 4-H stallion auction, food concession by local 4-H clubs, and the High School Rodeo Club started a fundraising horse raffle. Artists and craftsmen set up booths with more than 50 vendors from all over the West with their work and products on display. During the early 1990s, western art was carried through the ring and sold by lot numbers.

The Salmon Roping Club hosts an all-day roping on Sunday. Barrel racing is Friday evening, along with a mule sale. Idaho and Montana mule owners were contacted about the first mule sale 12 years ago. "They said it would never work," recalls Snook. So John Burns, now retired supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service, traveled back east and bought a trailer load of mules. That first sale offered 22 mules and a dog.

The 2011 mule sale featured 53 mules, with buyers from Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, California, Texas and Minnesota. The high-selling mule was consigned from Iowa, selling to a California man for $9,000. The second high-selling mule was from Belgrade, MT, and sold to a buyer in Texas.

The horse sale the next day featured 140 horses from 80 consignors from Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and California.

The most well-known horse event in eastern Idaho started 40 years ago. Though it draws people from all over the West and beyond, it evolved from small beginnings. The first sale held in 1971 was a production sale by Fred Snook, Sr., and Ed Jones, men who loved raising and racing horses.

Fred Snook Jr. was sale manager. "Most of the horses were yearlings and broodmares, but there were a few geldings and riding horses. It was held at the old sales yard, which had a narrow ring for cattle, with no room to ride horses. We just led them through," Snook says. The first sale total was $8,545, and the high-selling horse sold for $640.

Several consignors went together to produce the 1973 sale, when horses brought a total of $14,000. There's been an annual sale ever since, moving to its present location at the Lemhi County Fairgrounds in Salmon, ID, where it acquired an indoor arena. Now known the Salmon Select Horse Sale, the emphasis is on good quality horses for competitive events, pleasure or ranch work.

The number of horses - and prices - has dramatically increased over the years. "This year, even with a depressed horse market, the horses brought over $300,000 and the high-selling horse brought $14,500. This was a 13-year-old Quarter horse stallion, and the most well-trained horse we've ever had at our sale. The lady who sold him put on a fantastic display of horsemanship," Snook says.

As the sale grew, other activities were added - a 4-H stallion auction, food concession by local 4-H clubs, and the High School Rodeo Club started a fundraising horse raffle. Artists and craftsmen set up booths with more than 50 vendors from all over the West with their work and products on display. During the early 1990s, western art was carried through the ring and sold by lot numbers.

The Salmon Roping Club hosts an all-day roping on Sunday. Barrel racing is Friday evening, along with a mule sale. Idaho and Montana mule owners were contacted about the first mule sale 12 years ago. "They said it would never work," recalls Snook. So John Burns, now retired supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service, traveled back east and bought a trailer load of mules. That first sale offered 22 mules and a dog.

The 2011 mule sale featured 53 mules, with buyers from Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, California, Texas and Minnesota. The high-selling mule was consigned from Iowa, selling to a California man for $9,000. The second high-selling mule was from Belgrade, MT, and sold to a buyer in Texas.

The horse sale the next day featured 140 horses from 80 consignors from Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and California.

editor's note: to learn more about the salmon select horse sale, visit www.salmonselectsale.com, or contact fred snook at 208-756-2125. next year's sale will be held april 13-14, 2012.


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Tri-State Livestock News Updated Aug 14, 2012 04:03PM Published Jul 18, 2011 10:49AM Copyright 2011 Tri-State Livestock News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.