COLUMBIA — A buyer stepped away from his perch on the bleachers with a nervous laugh and his hands shaking, recovering from the adrenaline rush of an auction.
“I didn’t plan on spending that much money,” Chris Boss said of the $800 bid that won him Lot 203, a Percheron stallion named Oakhaven Brock’s Roadster.
The Boone County Draft Horse and Mule Sale will continue Friday and Saturday. Friday’s auction will begin at 9 a.m. with the sale of standardbreds, light teams and ponies and riders. The auction will close Saturday at 9 a.m. with the mule sale.
The Boone County Draft Horse and Mule Sale began Wednesday and will continue through Saturday. The event, which began in 1990, features the sale of farm equipment and a variety of draft horses and mules.
During the weekend, the auction will sell around 300 animals, George Harris, general manager of the Boone County Fairgrounds said. More than 100 sellers are participating in the four-day event.
Attendees can also shop for jewelry, concessions, show items and other collectables.
Ranch owners Norman and Solange Nikkel brought 38 weanlings, from 4 to 5 months old to sell at the auction. One of these was Boss' new Percheron stallion.
The Nikkels made a nearly 1,000-mile journey from Oakhaven Ranch, in Manitoba, Canada,for their eighth year of participation in the auction.
Their foals included Canadian pinto horses, Clydesdales, Percherons and quarter horses. Some will become companion animals, while others will compete in show jumping, dressage or other competitive fields, Nikkel said.
Purchasing weanlings allows owners to break their horses and form a bond between horse and owner, Nikkel said.
Another benefit to buying and selling such young horses is transportation costs, he said. He is able to transport four 500-pound weanlings for the same price it takes to transport one 2,000-pound horse.
Nikkel said he brings select weanlings to the auction because the central location of Columbia makes them easy to market. Last year, his weanlings sold to buyers in seven different states.
Oakhaven Ranch was the only seller to solely feature weanlings at the auction.
Admist the clatter and noise of the event, the auctioneer announced the winners and egged the crowd on when bidding for weanlings went silent.
“Come on, folks. How could you fault them in any way?”
Oakhaven Star Dust and Oakhaven Sun Spot, both Belgian/Percheron crossbreeds, went to Deenie Sullivan of Bloomington, Ill.
“I came to buy a cart, and when I saw those two babies, I had to have them,” Sullivan said of the nearly-identical set of weanlings. She clapped her hands and squealed as she spoke.