Opportunity and curiosity draw crowd for auction of Leachman cavvy | TSLN.com

Opportunity and curiosity draw crowd for auction of Leachman cavvy

by Jeri L. Dobrowski

Meadowlarks trilled as employees of the Crow Indian Reservation and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) made final preparations for the government-ordered dispersal of horses once belonging to James H. Leachman. Curious onlookers and those intent on purchasing strolled about a cattle feedlot during the April 1, 2011 preview of more than 800 head. An often repeated comment was, “I wanted to see this for myself.”

The elderly, aided by walkers and canes, and parents with young children in tow, wandered along the empty cement bunk row, marveling at pen-after-pen of brightly colored horses. The Hairpin Cavvy program touted old-fashioned ranch horses wrapped in a flashy package: blue roans, red roans, palominos, bays, sorrels and chestnuts.

Leslie Keltner, Cody, WY, drove up to witness the spectacle. She took the day off from work and excused her daughter from high school to accompany her to the preview. Keltner, a horse owner, confessed that she came on a day when horses weren’t being sold so she wouldn’t be tempted to buy.

The horses were penned in a facility built during the heyday of Leachman Cattle Company, which once hosted the world’s largest one-brand bull sale at the location. After the cattle enterprise ran into financial difficulties, Leachman turned his talents to raising registered American Quarter Horses. History repeated itself, and the Leachman Hairpin Cavvy ran into financial difficulties.

Events leading up to the sale on April 2 and 3, 2011, had more twists than Highway 87E that winds between Billings and Leachman’s former Home Place Ranch 16 miles to the east. Bankruptcy, charges of cruelty to animals, and trespass on government property factored into the sale of the impounded horses.

Having leased the ranch from the bankruptcy court for nearly a decade, it was sold by the U.S. Marshal in July 2010. Leachman continued to graze his herd on the deeded and Indian Trust leases saying he wanted to redeem the ranch from the court.

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Between Dec. 29, 2010 and Jan. 15, 2011, five horses were found dead or were euthanized as directed by a veterinarian. The animals suffered from various fractures and injuries and in some cases, malnutrition. An emergency feeding program was ordered by the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and overseen by the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) Foundation.

In February, the Department of the Interior and BIA posted a solicitation notice for removal of the horses due to federal code violations.

In March, members of the Crow Tribe gathered the horses, bringing them to the feedlot on the ranch now owned by Jay and Turk Stovall. Leachman was given the opportunity to redeem the animals, but those deadlines passed without a resolution. Thus, the horses became property of the federal government, and the BIA began sale preparations.

In remarks at the start of Saturday’s sale, Ed Parisian, Regional Director of BIA Rocky Mountain Regional Office, noted the auction addressing trespass was “treading on new ground.” In summation he cautioned, “If your livestock is on somebody else’s land, you move it, or else you have to pay.”

In a huge undertaking with a short time line, BIA and Crow Tribal employees worked side-by-side with Montana State Brand Inspectors, staff from the NILE and volunteers to retrofit the dilapidated feedlot and prepare a listing of the animals. Within three weeks, the animals were gathered, clipped, identified and readied for sale.

Word of the impending sale spread by way of news and social media networks. Bidders arrived from as far away as Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arkansas.

Those who came in earnest to buy were looking for sturdy ranch-raised horses bred for cowsense, for particular bloodlines, for color, for a piece of history, for a bargain. Some came to buy back animals they or family members sold to Leachman. Others came to give a horse a home. The horses averaged $466, more than twice pre-sale estimates.

Isaac and Polly Yarlott, Wyola, MT, came for the preview and took in both days of the sale. Isaac had ridden with other Crow Indians when they gathered the horses. As a horse trainer, he was looking for something he could use for ranch roping. Polly was interested in a team roping prospect. The young couple went home with three head: two roans and a palomino.

George Heath, Clyde Park, MT, was also looking for rope horse prospects. Loading out on Saturday afternoon, he took home two of the six that he had his eye on. “They went higher than I expected,” Heath said, “especially for not having registration papers. Resale of them won’t be as good without papers. But, they’re bred for roping and the arena. I should be able to make a couple nice rope horses out of them.”

Horses were sold “as is” with no guarantee of registration or the transfer of existing papers. Animals born prior to 2004 were generally assumed to be registered. Papers for those born between 2005 and 2008 are classified by the American Quarter Horse Association as pending because they were never paid for. Leachman failed to submit stallion reports for 2009-2010, making registration of the younger stock highly unlikely.

Meadowlarks trilled as employees of the Crow Indian Reservation and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) made final preparations for the government-ordered dispersal of horses once belonging to James H. Leachman. Curious onlookers and those intent on purchasing strolled about a cattle feedlot during the April 1, 2011 preview of more than 800 head. An often repeated comment was, “I wanted to see this for myself.”

The elderly, aided by walkers and canes, and parents with young children in tow, wandered along the empty cement bunk row, marveling at pen-after-pen of brightly colored horses. The Hairpin Cavvy program touted old-fashioned ranch horses wrapped in a flashy package: blue roans, red roans, palominos, bays, sorrels and chestnuts.

Leslie Keltner, Cody, WY, drove up to witness the spectacle. She took the day off from work and excused her daughter from high school to accompany her to the preview. Keltner, a horse owner, confessed that she came on a day when horses weren’t being sold so she wouldn’t be tempted to buy.

The horses were penned in a facility built during the heyday of Leachman Cattle Company, which once hosted the world’s largest one-brand bull sale at the location. After the cattle enterprise ran into financial difficulties, Leachman turned his talents to raising registered American Quarter Horses. History repeated itself, and the Leachman Hairpin Cavvy ran into financial difficulties.

Events leading up to the sale on April 2 and 3, 2011, had more twists than Highway 87E that winds between Billings and Leachman’s former Home Place Ranch 16 miles to the east. Bankruptcy, charges of cruelty to animals, and trespass on government property factored into the sale of the impounded horses.

Having leased the ranch from the bankruptcy court for nearly a decade, it was sold by the U.S. Marshal in July 2010. Leachman continued to graze his herd on the deeded and Indian Trust leases saying he wanted to redeem the ranch from the court.

Between Dec. 29, 2010 and Jan. 15, 2011, five horses were found dead or were euthanized as directed by a veterinarian. The animals suffered from various fractures and injuries and in some cases, malnutrition. An emergency feeding program was ordered by the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and overseen by the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) Foundation.

In February, the Department of the Interior and BIA posted a solicitation notice for removal of the horses due to federal code violations.

In March, members of the Crow Tribe gathered the horses, bringing them to the feedlot on the ranch now owned by Jay and Turk Stovall. Leachman was given the opportunity to redeem the animals, but those deadlines passed without a resolution. Thus, the horses became property of the federal government, and the BIA began sale preparations.

In remarks at the start of Saturday’s sale, Ed Parisian, Regional Director of BIA Rocky Mountain Regional Office, noted the auction addressing trespass was “treading on new ground.” In summation he cautioned, “If your livestock is on somebody else’s land, you move it, or else you have to pay.”

In a huge undertaking with a short time line, BIA and Crow Tribal employees worked side-by-side with Montana State Brand Inspectors, staff from the NILE and volunteers to retrofit the dilapidated feedlot and prepare a listing of the animals. Within three weeks, the animals were gathered, clipped, identified and readied for sale.

Word of the impending sale spread by way of news and social media networks. Bidders arrived from as far away as Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arkansas.

Those who came in earnest to buy were looking for sturdy ranch-raised horses bred for cowsense, for particular bloodlines, for color, for a piece of history, for a bargain. Some came to buy back animals they or family members sold to Leachman. Others came to give a horse a home. The horses averaged $466, more than twice pre-sale estimates.

Isaac and Polly Yarlott, Wyola, MT, came for the preview and took in both days of the sale. Isaac had ridden with other Crow Indians when they gathered the horses. As a horse trainer, he was looking for something he could use for ranch roping. Polly was interested in a team roping prospect. The young couple went home with three head: two roans and a palomino.

George Heath, Clyde Park, MT, was also looking for rope horse prospects. Loading out on Saturday afternoon, he took home two of the six that he had his eye on. “They went higher than I expected,” Heath said, “especially for not having registration papers. Resale of them won’t be as good without papers. But, they’re bred for roping and the arena. I should be able to make a couple nice rope horses out of them.”

Horses were sold “as is” with no guarantee of registration or the transfer of existing papers. Animals born prior to 2004 were generally assumed to be registered. Papers for those born between 2005 and 2008 are classified by the American Quarter Horse Association as pending because they were never paid for. Leachman failed to submit stallion reports for 2009-2010, making registration of the younger stock highly unlikely.

Meadowlarks trilled as employees of the Crow Indian Reservation and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) made final preparations for the government-ordered dispersal of horses once belonging to James H. Leachman. Curious onlookers and those intent on purchasing strolled about a cattle feedlot during the April 1, 2011 preview of more than 800 head. An often repeated comment was, “I wanted to see this for myself.”

The elderly, aided by walkers and canes, and parents with young children in tow, wandered along the empty cement bunk row, marveling at pen-after-pen of brightly colored horses. The Hairpin Cavvy program touted old-fashioned ranch horses wrapped in a flashy package: blue roans, red roans, palominos, bays, sorrels and chestnuts.

Leslie Keltner, Cody, WY, drove up to witness the spectacle. She took the day off from work and excused her daughter from high school to accompany her to the preview. Keltner, a horse owner, confessed that she came on a day when horses weren’t being sold so she wouldn’t be tempted to buy.

The horses were penned in a facility built during the heyday of Leachman Cattle Company, which once hosted the world’s largest one-brand bull sale at the location. After the cattle enterprise ran into financial difficulties, Leachman turned his talents to raising registered American Quarter Horses. History repeated itself, and the Leachman Hairpin Cavvy ran into financial difficulties.

Events leading up to the sale on April 2 and 3, 2011, had more twists than Highway 87E that winds between Billings and Leachman’s former Home Place Ranch 16 miles to the east. Bankruptcy, charges of cruelty to animals, and trespass on government property factored into the sale of the impounded horses.

Having leased the ranch from the bankruptcy court for nearly a decade, it was sold by the U.S. Marshal in July 2010. Leachman continued to graze his herd on the deeded and Indian Trust leases saying he wanted to redeem the ranch from the court.

Between Dec. 29, 2010 and Jan. 15, 2011, five horses were found dead or were euthanized as directed by a veterinarian. The animals suffered from various fractures and injuries and in some cases, malnutrition. An emergency feeding program was ordered by the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office and overseen by the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) Foundation.

In February, the Department of the Interior and BIA posted a solicitation notice for removal of the horses due to federal code violations.

In March, members of the Crow Tribe gathered the horses, bringing them to the feedlot on the ranch now owned by Jay and Turk Stovall. Leachman was given the opportunity to redeem the animals, but those deadlines passed without a resolution. Thus, the horses became property of the federal government, and the BIA began sale preparations.

In remarks at the start of Saturday’s sale, Ed Parisian, Regional Director of BIA Rocky Mountain Regional Office, noted the auction addressing trespass was “treading on new ground.” In summation he cautioned, “If your livestock is on somebody else’s land, you move it, or else you have to pay.”

In a huge undertaking with a short time line, BIA and Crow Tribal employees worked side-by-side with Montana State Brand Inspectors, staff from the NILE and volunteers to retrofit the dilapidated feedlot and prepare a listing of the animals. Within three weeks, the animals were gathered, clipped, identified and readied for sale.

Word of the impending sale spread by way of news and social media networks. Bidders arrived from as far away as Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arkansas.

Those who came in earnest to buy were looking for sturdy ranch-raised horses bred for cowsense, for particular bloodlines, for color, for a piece of history, for a bargain. Some came to buy back animals they or family members sold to Leachman. Others came to give a horse a home. The horses averaged $466, more than twice pre-sale estimates.

Isaac and Polly Yarlott, Wyola, MT, came for the preview and took in both days of the sale. Isaac had ridden with other Crow Indians when they gathered the horses. As a horse trainer, he was looking for something he could use for ranch roping. Polly was interested in a team roping prospect. The young couple went home with three head: two roans and a palomino.

George Heath, Clyde Park, MT, was also looking for rope horse prospects. Loading out on Saturday afternoon, he took home two of the six that he had his eye on. “They went higher than I expected,” Heath said, “especially for not having registration papers. Resale of them won’t be as good without papers. But, they’re bred for roping and the arena. I should be able to make a couple nice rope horses out of them.”

Horses were sold “as is” with no guarantee of registration or the transfer of existing papers. Animals born prior to 2004 were generally assumed to be registered. Papers for those born between 2005 and 2008 are classified by the American Quarter Horse Association as pending because they were never paid for. Leachman failed to submit stallion reports for 2009-2010, making registration of the younger stock highly unlikely.

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