Venerable cowboy ranch in Kansas City auctions supplies

Monday, December 16, 2013 | 4:09 p.m. CST

KANSAS CITY — An auction at the iconic Benjamin Ranch in south Kansas City drew people looking for a chance to buy a memory or a good bargain.

Benjamin Ranch will be torn down Jan. 1 to make room for a Cerner Corp. office development, marking the end of an operation that started as a dairy farm more than 125 years ago. The ranch offered a rodeo arena, horse race practice track and opera stage. People also came for July 4th rodeos, horseback riding and hayrides, and many of the buildings were booked for weddings and corporate picnics.

Bob Faulkner and his family have leased the business and produced events at the ranch for 25 years. Anticipating that development would someday overtake the area, Faulkner and his family built another ranch in Raytown, and he plans to continue the legacy of western events in Kansas City, The Kansas City Star reported.

"I'm sad to see its demise," he said.

So were many of the others who attended Sunday's auction.

Joy Coons of Bucyrus, Kan., bid $35 for a wooden nickel that announced a long-ago July rodeo. She said she was given a wooden nickel when she was young so she could get into the rodeo for free. She also worked at the ranch as a teenager.

"I just had to have it," Coons said of the coin. "I basically grew up here."

Zach Smith of Holden, Mo., worked as a ranch hand and married his wife at the ranch in 2010.

"It's a sad day," Smith said. "I hate to see it go. I came back to see if I could get a piece of history."

Bidding on the items was brisk. A cane sold for $10, a boot vase sold for $8, and an old yoke went for $75. An oil painting of Warpaint, a horse that is the mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs, sold for more than $1,000.

Sue Burns of Paola, Kan., was looking for bargain draft horse equipment.

"I'm here just for the equipment — if the price is right," she said. "Memorabilia goes only so far. I got a lot of that in my barn already."


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