Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Violeta Ranch Beefmaster Sale Trip

Last weekend, I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the Violeta Beefmaster Sale in Hebbronville, Texas, where I was on a mission to buy some cattle for me and Brandon. Brandon was already committed to judging  a show that weekend so I was given the charge to handle buying the cattle for us. Wait. So anyone who is reading this is probably thinking - What? Brandon sent you to south Texas to buy cattle all by yourself. Nah...just kidding. I had the real professional Jim Williams there to help me. But I actually did the picking and bidding, and he did the advising and hauling.

My mom and dad bought a little place in Premont, Texas this year which has become their vacation get-away. Premont is a little town in south Texas that is about 30 minutes away from Kingsville. Home of "The Oasis" restaurant, alma mater of my uncle Terry Powell. And now home of V8 Ranch - South Texas Division.

So we began our trip on Friday afternoon, and after 3 hours of Mollie crying in the car we made it to the V8 Ranch South Texas Division. Mom agreed to keep Mollie Saturday while Dad and I went to the sale. Dad and I got up first thing Saturday morning and made the drive from Premont to Hebbronville, home of Violeta Ranch. Now when I say "Hebbronville, Texas", I say that loosely. Keep in mind that down here, towns are REALLY spread out. The ranch, who's address is Hebbronville, is actually 33 miles south of town, but that is how far they have to go to get to town. 

Following the directions in the sale catalog, we arrived at the beautiful Violeta Ranch, owned by the Garza Family, and home of one of the top two oldest Beefmaster herds in the United States (Lasater and Violeta). We turned into the ranch entrance, and began a trek down several miles of dirt roads, and 3 gates, to finally arrive at the sale site. I'll be honest, at first we thought we were totally going to the wrong place. There were no signs, no people, no visible sale barn in sight, etc. 

Then finally, after crossing through several pastures, we started seeing signs of life (Beefmaster bulls) and we knew we were on the right path.  

To say Jim Williams was in a South Texas paradise is an understatement. As soon as we arrived we both just fell in love with the beautiful ranch setting, the brush country, and the Beefmaster cattle. The Garza family hosted a DELICIOUS south Texas lunch of carne guisada and pan de camp (camp bread) along with the best cakes and desserts you can imagine. Oh and the ice tea was also to die for. 

The sale was a very comfortable and hospitable atmosphere. They sold 80 head (40 bulls and 40 heifers) of ranch raised, linebred Beefmaster cattle that as auctioner Anthony Mihalski described as "Buffal Bred" (i.e. Buffal Grass).  Upon arriving, one of the things I got a chuckle about was the two little baby javelinas (wild hog) that were just milling around the sale. They had made themselves at home and greeted the sale-goers.

We also loved their beautiful working pens, including this fence which is made of solid wood.

After going through the cattle, Dad and I had marked about 16 heifers as ones that we wanted. We set our budget, then sat through 40 head of sale bulls to await the heifer sale. As the heifer sale began, I started bidding, and unfortunately found that nearly every heifer sold outside of our budget, which was $1500/head. We had about 10 marked as "definite must have's" but alas, they got too high for our pocketbooks. Ironically, the family sitting behind us (2 of the 5 white people in attendance) bought most of our favorites...and turns out they also have a ranch in PREMONT, just like Dad! Once the family saw that I was bidding, and getting outbid, on nearly every lot, they leaned over and asked me which ones I had marked, and promised not to bid against me. How nice. 

I did end up getting 3 heifers, all of which were dunn colored, so I'm guessing maybe the buyers preferred the buyers preferred the solid red colored Beefmasters better. When we went to checkout in the ranch office, we were greeted by this amazing creature....

 What an awesome deer! We were also informed by the ranch staff that this deer was actually part of the "B team" of deer on the ranch, and that there are some much bigger!

All in all, we had a wonderful time, and we definitely plan on going back next year. After the sale, we ended up staying the rest of the weekend, so we could go to the Falfurrias Church of Christ, which is a lovely church that my parents have been attending when they are down at the Premont ranch. Here's a picture of little Mollie all dressed up for her Sunday church. (This dress was given to her by some of our Brahman partners in Brazil, The Jacintho's, and we thought Mollie looked like such a little lady!

And finally, as we pulled out of the drive, look what else we saw!!!!!

This is a blue indigo snake, which eats rattlesnakes. It isn't poisonous so my dad loves to see these things on the ranch and refuses to shoot them. 

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