University of Montana Western Colt Challenge and Sale: Part 1 of 3
- March 15, 2018
- Mykal Kirkpatrick
“It all comes down to sale day,” says Eric Hoffmann, professor of Natural Horsemanship at the University of Montana Western in Dillon, Montana. As winter winds down, students enrolled in the Colt Prep and Sales class are spending the next month putting the finishing touches on their colts in preparation for the 2nd annual Colt Challenge and Sale held at LaCense Montana Arena in Dillon. 24 colts will be shown, previewed, and sold by 14 students who have spent the school year prepping for the sale. It all begins in the fall term with colts donated by Brooke and Cal Erb (Dillon, Mt), Lynn and Fred Hirschy (Jackson, MT), Mark and Barb Harrington (Dillon, MT), Shirley Harrington (Dillon, MT), Stan and Nancy Weaver (Big Sandy, MT), Daniel Weaver (Big Sandy, MT), Chad and Verna Holland (Dillon, MT), Coy and Denise Holland (Dillon, MT), and Diamond Land and Livestock (Douglas,Wyoming).
Most of the students are upper level juniors and seniors using what they have learned in their previous 2-3 years of natural horsemanship classes to build confidence and prepare their product for the ranching world. The colts will have 80 rides, respectively, by sale day, with exposure to cattle, loading and hauling in trailers, outside riding, roping, and performing advanced maneuvers.
Pedigrees include the who’s who of AQHA bloodstock. From the 2003 NRCHA million dollar sire, Nu Cash, to lines including First Down Dash, with track earnings of $857,256 and a speed index of 105, there’s a selection for a variety of prospective buyers. Hoffman says, “The quality of colts donated to the program just gets better every year.”
In 2016-2017, the sale was brought back to Beaverhead County in hopes of showing community support and to draw a more ag-based crowd. The idea was a success, as it hailed local buyers, along with buyers from Michigan, Washington, California, and Wyoming.
The sale is unique in the sense that students have the opportunity to showcase their skills in training, showing, and dealing with the business end and professionalism of selling a horse. In addition to the sales prep and students gaining exposure, there are 8-9 students enrolled in UM Western’s Equine Event and Management class that help with the preparation and production of the sale. Many of Western’s alumni also show up to help out where they can.
All of the proceeds generated from the sale of the colts goes toward covering costs of the program, and the remainder are applied toward various scholarships. Last year’s winner of the colt challenge was awarded a $2,500 scholarship! Hoffman gives credit to the many sponsors that have come on board to help defer some of the costs of the program. With their help, students are afforded opportunities otherwise unattainable.
The weekend kicks off on Friday, April 6th with the colt challenge held at LaCense at 9 am. Students will compete and show their colts performing a reining pattern and trail course. It will be followed by UM Western’s 50th annual community rodeo banquet with no-host cocktails at 5:30 pm and a prime rib dinner at 6:00 pm at the Keltz Arena on the Montana Western campus. The preview of the colts will begin on Saturday, April 7th at 10:00 am, with the sale beginning at 1:00 pm. To request a catalog, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/coltchallengeandsale
For additional information call Eric Hoffmann at 406-925-1499.
In part two of this post, I will introduce you to some of the cowboys and cowgirls that participate in the colt challenge and sale, talk about the program, its educational goals, and the vision of the students and instructors.
About Mykal Kirkpatrick
I am a self-proclaimed jack of all trades, master of none, (but oftentimes better than a master of one). Growing up with a ranching and ag background prepared me for the life my husband of nearly 23 years and I have built together. ...