Snooks, Deveraux buy Buffalo Livestock Auction
Buffalo Livestock Auction in Buffalo, Wyo. will soon be under new ownership. Beginning on June 1, the trio of Austin Snook, Taylor Snook, and Craig Deveraux will be at the helm of the livestock market. With I-90 and I-25 funneling into the city of Buffalo and scores of cattle in the surrounding region, Snooks and Deveraux are eager to capitalize on the opportunity.
“It looked like something we could build on and grow and turn into something really good for the area. The closest competitors are either over the mountain or 140 miles away,” said Austin Snook. “It just looked like a good opportunity.”
Craig Deveraux and his family are known for their successful Full House Elite Performance Horse Sale, held in Newcastle every spring. He worked as a field rep in the Black Hills region for over 10 years and is himself a lifelong cattle producer.
The Snook brothers of Hulett will be actively operating the auctions on a weekly basis. Despite their both being under 30 years old, Snooks bring a solid expertise from years in cattle marketing. Prior to this purchase, Austin served as a field man for Belle Fourche Livestock for three years. “I’ve done business with some people in this area and had a lot of experience sorting cattle and buying and selling cattle […] I’ve gotten a little bit of experience but you could always learn more,” he says.
His younger brother, Taylor, represented St. Onge Livestock as a field man for just under five years. Both men are producers and have taken part in their family’s ranches near Hulett since childhood. Taylor says, “We were lucky to be able to work there as long as we did and learn the whole game. Now we know what we’re going into. Justin Tupper (St. Onge Livestock) said when I left, ‘I’ll stand behind you all the way […] If you need any help, I’ll be there.’”
Taylor actually asked the current owner of Buffalo Livestock Auction several years ago about the possibility of purchasing the sale barn. While nothing came of the initial conversation, he persisted and asked once more last fall. From there, the momentum grew into making that question into a reality. Their father, Clint, is a realtor and has been helping his sons through the process. He will continue to work with Buffalo Livestock Auction as a field man. Curt Westland of Belle Fourche will serve as their auctioneer.
It is no small move for the Snooks and their young families. Austin and Hannah Snook’s firstborn son, Creek, was born in early May. Three months ago, Taylor and Susy had their firstborn, Woodrow. Yet, buying the sale barn is a step taken with the future in mind. “Family owned and operated is about the best way to run any business, and in the end we always will. Family–that’s what we’re doing it for,” Austin says. “ It’ll be a big change, but in the future, we’ll be able to own our own business and have something to hand down to our kids,” Taylor says.
Snooks and Deverauxs have been close family friends for years. Deveraux’s experience with selling horses will be invaluable as they hope to offer monthly horse sales at Buffalo Livestock. Eventually, there are plans to build an arena adjacent to the barn, in aid of performance horse sales year round.
Snooks are eager to expand on the well-established business in order to provide the best services possible for cattle producers in northeast Wyoming and beyond. “I hope to bring them a fair and competitive market there with the best care they could ask for, for the consignors and buyers,” Austin says.
They are passionate about the area and know that it boasts “lots of cattle and lots of good people.” Their goal is to do good, honest business and to take care of each client individually, ensuring their cattle are sold well and at a decent time. Austin says, “We want to do business with everyone–any avenue we can–from the ring to the video to the country.” Taylor says, “Even the small guys that have 25 head, we’re going to make them feel like they have 1,000. They mean just as much to us as anyone.”
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