BRIGHTON — Creating a sea of cowboy hats, more than 250 ranchers from Florida and around the country crammed into the Florida Seminole Veterans Building on Aug. 31 hoping to buy or sell the perfect heifers at the Cattle Country Commercial Replacement Sale in Brighton.
By the end of the day, more than 1,100 head of cattle changed hands and were hauled off the reservation in a caravan of cattle trailers.
“This was the largest sale of its kind in the Southeast and the largest the Tribe has ever held,” said Alex Johns, natural resource director.
Buyers and sellers came to Brighton from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas for the sale.
“It was a good day for all cattlemen in Florida,” said Brighton Board Rep. Larry Howard. “We showed what we do best: raise cows, manage them and sell them too.”
American Marketing Services, based in Texas, managed the sale. They took bids live in the room, by phone and online during the sale.
“If you came to buy good heifers, I don’t know if there will be another chance,” said auctioneer Tommy Barnes.
The cadence of Barnes’ voice created an urgency in the room as ranchers bid furiously until only one emerged victorious with a ‘lot’ of bred (pregnant) or open (not pregnant) heifers. Barnes’ voice served as the soundtrack of the auction, but it was interrupted often by the barks of ringmen Ric
hard Hood and E.C. Larkin as they updated the auctioneer on the latest bidders.
Cattle were sold in lots of four to 15 animals and sale prices averaged approximately $1,100 to $1,700 per animal. Total gross sales were more than $1.6 million. Seminole owned Salacoa Valley Farms bulls, whose seed stock is highly sought after by ranchers for its superior genetics, bred or sired about 80 percent of the heifers.
Prior to the sale, Clay and Cole Overstreet of the Overstreet Family
Ranch in Sebring, checked out the animals in the Fred Smith Rodeo Arena. They went to purchase about 10 bred heifers.
“These are great looking heifers,” said Cole Overstreet. “Amazing.”
“They are out of good bulls,” added his father Clay Overstreet. “This ain’t about junk; these are top cattle here.”
One hundred-thirty-nine Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc.-owned heifers were sold in 18 lots. Tribal cattle owners attended the auction to sell, “browse” or buy animals. About 15 purchased animals to add to their herds.
Nineteen non-Tribal cattle owners sold animals at the sale, but it was the first time Daniel Moen, of Moen Cattle in Inverness, sold heifers.
“We usually sell calves, but figured we’d give it a try,” said Moen, who sold 10. “You never know going in what the price is going to be. It was pretty good, a little better than we expected.”
Rep. Howard acknowledged all the hard work done behind the scenes by Johns, Salacoa Valley Farms general manager Chris Heptinstall and others to make the sale a success.
“It was a team effort,” he said. “All the cattlemen had a part that day. These men work the pastures from sunup to sundown. As a Board member, I’m proud of the progress that has taken place and hope to continue to grow the cattle industry and keep it moving.”