Pendleton Cattle Barons continued Saturday with the Western Select horse and working dog auction.
Dan Roeser rode Sanjo Gold calmly and confidently into the Round-Up Pavilion Saturday, ready to show what the 7-year-old palomino gelding was capable of doing.
It was several hours before the Western Select horse and working dog sale would begin inside the Pendleton Convention Center, part of the annual Cattle Barons Weekend, and ranchers huddled inside the pavilion for a preview of the animals in action. Some scrawled notes in their programs as the horses ran alongside steers during a live roping demonstration.
Roeser, who runs Roeser Ranch in Marsing, Idaho, has been training horses for 40 years and taught a number of local cowboys the finer points of horsemanship. He regularly attends Cattle Barons Weekend, now in its 10th year of raising scholarships for local students and preserving the Western way of life in northeast Oregon.
Along with Sanjo Gold, Roeser also brought a second horse, Dealers Kid, to market at the sale. Whereas Sanjo Gold is a gentle ranch horse for riders of all abilities, Roeser said Dealers Kid is more fit for high-caliber ropers. It is his job to show both animals to the best of their abilities in the preview and auction rings.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “You have to use a lot of consistency in your methods so the horses know what they can expect from you.”
Once the sale begins, trainers like Roeser ride inside the convention center where buyers bid up to tens of thousands of dollars. Roeser said selling horses is a big part of his business, and Cattle Barons Weekend has proven to be a great venue.
“It’s a good market for the horses,” he said. “The people who run the sale do a really good job.”
Meanwhile, Cattle Barons Weekend also features a Western-theme trade show, engraving show and Buckaroo Barbecue Challenge, where teams compete for the best ribs and tri-tip beef. Proceeds from the event go toward scholarships for high school and community college students to pursue degrees in agricultural sciences, thereby keeping the Western tradition alive.
“That’s why we do what we do, to maintain it into the future,” said Andy VanderPlaat, Cattle Barons president.
Roeser’s return to Pendleton reunited him with at least two of his former students and employees — Justin Bailey, of Pilot Rock, and Ryan Raymond, of Helix. Bailey worked for Roeser eight years on the ranch in Idaho, and described him as a mentor.
Bailey now runs his own training business, Bailey Performance Horses, and showed three of his own horses during the Western Select auction.
“What we’re trying to show is a quality horse that can handle ranch-like situations,” Bailey said. “You’re trying to show their willingness and quiet mind.”
Bailey Performance Horses is located on the home ranch of Anderson Land & Livestock, operated by Terry and Debby Anderson, who won this year’s Cattle Barons Legacy Award.
Raymond, a fifth-generation rancher who runs cows for Raymond & Son Inc., worked for Roeser for three years and continues to ride plenty of horses. He said showing horses at sales like Cattle Barons Weekend takes honesty and integrity, with the trainer’s reputation on the line.
“These guys know what they can sell here,” he said. “You can’t bring a horse here you can’t lope around and rope on.”
Cattle Barons is a neat event to bring more people into Pendleton, Raymond said, and promote ranching businesses that are the life blood of small communities like Helix.
“If we don’t do more things to involve people in local agriculture, I would think those places will be gone,” he said. “We need that younger generation.”
Contact George Plaven at [email protected] or 541-966-0825.