When we first started researching Angus cattle, we learned that one of the largest Angus seedstock producers was about 30 minutes from us at the time. We spent many a weeknight or random weekend afternoon driving the 30 minutes to Cameron to 44 Farms to check out their immaculate grounds and the bulls in their pens leading up to the main ranch. When we first pulled up, Steven said he thinks this is what heaven looks like- green grass, black cows, and red pipe fence.
Fast forward several months, and we had enough of a herd at the ranch that we were in the market for a bull. 44 has multiple bull sales in different locations throughout the year, and we decided to attend their Cameron sale at the end of February. Prior to going, we printed the statistical analysis of every bull available (over 600!), and started narrowing down which ones we might be interested in. We needed a calving ease bull- one that throws off calves small enough that first time heifers can calve without needing assistance, so we began a short list that met that highest requirement, and then whittled from there based on other attributes. We cross checked our stat list to the videos featuring each bull walking and standing to get a feel for phenotype vs. genetics. After this, we were down to about 6-7 possible candidates (and at this point, I already had my pick 😉 ).
Lucky for us, our sweet bonus grandparents, Betty and Wayne (they were the kids’ babysitters while Steven was in residency and fellowship), still live about 30 minutes from Cameron so we got a double benefit- we got to visit them and stay overnight at their house in addition to a trip to the sale. They came along to help entertain kids and check out the whole set up.
Steven and I left early on Saturday morning to get out to 44 before the sale started to check out the bulls in the pens. At the main office, we grabbed some brisket breakfast tacos from catering (featuring 44 brisket!), which were absolutely delicious. Between breakfast and dinner, the sale is worth going to just for the food!
44 has a rep that lives near us that we’ve gotten to know, so we met up with him prior to the start of the sale to run through our list. He approved of most of our picks, but when he got to my top choice, he said that bull would be a great match for us and I’ve never been more proud of any pick in my life. His numbers met our requirements, but there was just something about his look that I loved. We signed up for a bidder number, and then met up with Betty and Wayne and the kids, who had just rolled in.
Hundreds of people packed into the auction house at the start of the sale, and the 44 CEO, Bob McClaren, spoke to some of the values that 44 has as a corporation. They take their Christian mission very seriously, and stand behind the quality of their product faithfully. He prayed for the gathering, and they kicked off with the ceremonial first bull to auction, which is one they typically expect to sell high. We sat for a few minutes after the sale started, and then went outside to let the kids get wiggles out since we weren’t expecting to bid for a while.
I was somewhat treating this as a London flight trial run as far as entertaining kids went, so I had packed all the activities and snacks to keep them as occupied as possible, but if we’re honest, what they loved the most was running up and down the big green hill between the office and auction barn with the new friends they made.
After consulting with our rep friend, we decided to go all in on my pick (with a few back ups that were scheduled after him in case he went above our top bid). And he was scheduled as lot 434 out of 604- as in we had to wait for 433 other bulls to sell first. Anticipation built all day as they worked through those 433 ahead of us, and Steven and I went in to grab seats to prep for bidding around lot 400. Betty stayed outside with the kids so we wouldn’t be distracted while bidding, but Wayne sat right behind us so he could be witness to us winning our first auction.
For lots 430-433, I think I blacked out a little because I was so nervous. Superior Auctions was running the bidding and had men stationed around the auction floor referring bids to the auctioneer, and every bid that went up was yelled across the room at an alarmingly quick rate. The man taking bids in our area kept making eye contact with us up until our lot, like he knew we were prepping to bid soon. We jumped into bidding when it started and it rapidly bounced around the room until it hit our top bid, and they declared us the winners. That adrenaline rush was unlike anything we’ve experienced, and we were so pumped to have success at our first auction!
We had arranged for him to be shipped back with our rep to have him delivered to us at a later time, so after we won, we stuck around for a few more lots, and then said goodbye and a HUGE thank you to Betty and Wayne for enduring the day with us before heading home.
A few weeks later, 44 Peyton was delivered to Red Bank Creek Ranch! Theoretically, we could call him Peyton, but we have a handful of human Peytons we know, so somewhere along the way he was renamed Dwayne The Rock Johnson (Dwayne for short).
He has been super gentle for the last six months, and we can’t wait to see his calves starting around December- January. We’re proud to have such a high quality bull starting out and are looking forward to seeing his production!