COLUMBIA — A Tennessee artist was among the crowd at the Boone County Draft Horse and Mule Sale. But he wasn't there for the animals.
The sale, held twice a year at the Boone County Fairgrounds, draws people from all over the Midwest and South. Some people come to buy and sell their horses and mules, while others come to enjoy the festivities and sell other wares.
LITTLE HORSES, BIG ACTION
Although the main product bought and sold at the sale are draft horses, riding horses and mules, a few people come to sell their miniature horses, more commonly known as minis, and their ponies.
Trevor Frey, 11, of Owensville attends the auction with his parents each year. He spent Friday tending to his two minis, Aggie and Maggie, and his pony, Fred.
"My favorite part is getting to drive the cart with the minis and with Fred; they're just like big ol' dogs, but you can ride them." said Frey, before exclaiming, "Come on, Fred," as his pony carted him away.
Luke Allen, a ranch-hand from Tennessee, had a similar sentiment. He said, "Mini horses trip me out; people walk them like dogs."
Allen works with cattle and quarter horses and is more accustomed to "standard breeds" at Strongstock Farm in Knoxville.
What: Boone County Draft Horse and Mule Sale
When: Ends Saturday
Where: Boone County Fairgrounds
Joe Vick of Lyles, Tenn., came to this week's sale as a portrait artist.
"Anywhere there is a crowd, I will go to sell my work. I'm a starving artist, if you will," he said. He travels to auctions, art fairs, raccoon-hound events and horse shows.
Back at home, Vick does pencil drawings of American pastimes, such as a family dinner, or a father and son out hunting, and then sells print copies. But at shows, his hook is the five-minute portrait, which he does in pencil and then places in a handmade frame for the customer.
"My son Isaac helps me make the frames back home," he said. "I can call him and tell him exactly what I need, and he whips it up for me."
Isaac, 18, along with his brother Garland, 9, were at the sale this week with their dad. Vick and his wife, Cathy Vick, have 10 children, nine sons and one daughter, ranging from six months to 26 years old.
"She's my Miss America," Vick said of his wife. "We have been married for 29 years, and I still can't believe it. God has been good to me."
The couple met in Daytona, Fla., where Vick went to college and earned a degree in art. When he graduated in 1989, he moved to Tennessee with his wife and the two children they had at the time.
He got a job as a graphic designer, but that only lasted for about a year. "I hated it," he said. That's when he saw an ad in the paper for a job as a portrait artist.
"I jumped at the chance," Vick said. "I began getting up at 4 a.m. to draw and tried to sell my art door to door. All of that was a springboard into what I do now."
Vick mostly attends shows near his hometown, so he only has to be gone for a day at a time. He only takes eight to 10 overnight trips a year. He recently went to Albany for a raccoon hunt.
"I have a pretty good life; I make a good living too," he said. "I get to stay home with my family most of the year and travel and share my artwork the rest of the time. God has blessed me with a good life."