We had a sneak peek at the bull haircuts sometime back.  These haircuts are just part of the process of preparing the bulls for sale – want them to look at their very best so they can fetch the best price!

The process of giving them haircuts by fire continues to amaze me.  Although the bulls don’t like being pinned into the shoot, they didn’t seem to react at all to the fire being lit in their fur.small-8525In case you were wondering, the fire is put out by the barbers brushing through it with a wire brush.  They watch carefully to keep the flames going for only a short time – just enough to get the deep fur brought down to a reasonable level.


Besides the fire, there is also a lot of shaving that goes on.  Not sure I’d be all that excited to be shaving the face, but I’m full of fear of such large animals.small-8575small-8038Piles and piles of fur are made – usually to be scattered in the breeze over time.
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These two guys go from ranch to ranch shaving bulls – what a job!  The biggest downfall?  The poop flies at times and everything (including the photographer’s pants) is fair game for a landing spot.small-8247

But when it is done those boys look so nice!  Ready to be sold!small-8302

When the time comes for the sale, the people come from all around!  

First job is to check out those bulls and take notes – gotta go into the barn knowing exactly which one or ones you want to buy!IMG_6240_bw_sm



Sometimes it is decision by committee – as well as a chance to check in with friends you don’t see everyday.small-6276 small-6286Lunch is provided by the family and friends – even the little ones get involved.  And these french dip beef sandwiches were very good (and so were the desserts!)

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People take a little time to eat and chat and ponder their upcoming purchases.small-6354bw


And then it is time to get on with the sale.  Cody takes his place in the ring where he can guide the bulls through the “runway” – don’t want any one of those big guys hogging all the limelight!



Above him sits Darin (his dad), the auctioneer, and the accountant – they are ready for business!small-6371And the auction gets going.  Bulls enter the arena one at a time and maybe a little star struck by all the folks watching them?

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The spotters are busy watching for bids
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Some of the bulls were pretty excited for their moment in the spotlight.


In case you were wondering where these bulls come from, here is a look at the yard behind the arena.  That would be the oldest Veltkamp girl opening and closing shoots as they bring the bulls in one at a time.small-6588

This takes a bit of coordination as the bulls are numbered and need to go into the arena in a particular order – to match the sales book that bidders have in hand.small-6589

Darin’s brother and a whole crew of friends are out there assuring the bulls are in the right order and coming through at a safe and reasonable pace.
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small-6729Sometimes it might feel a bit like tight quarters, but usually it works out okay.

small-6771There is always the over the rails escape hatch!

small-6657The bulls . . . well, they really have no idea what is going on.  Just another maze to go through with their friends.  They don’t realize this is the beginning of the end of their community.  Soon they will all reside elsewhere.small-6810And after the parade of bulls and whirlwind of auction calling, there comes the bill paying and arranging for delivery.


All in all, a successful venture.  Good bulls produced right here in the Gallatin Valley by a family with integrity, a value for hard work, faith to make it through the unknown, and friends everywhere they turn.


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