WYO Quarter Horse Sale – Bill & Carole Smith
- September 3, 2018
- Tiffany Schwenke
WYO Quarter Horse Sale has built a solid reputation as a sale where you can find quality horses being offered by quality people.
Bill and Carole Smith started the WYO Quarter Horse Sale in 1983. Over the years, it has developed into the nation’s elite arena, ranch-broke gelding, and Quarter Horse production sale. There are now two sales held each year in Thermopolis, Wyoming.
“It has been our goal to offer a set of quality, young, sound, broke geldings with color. These horses are carefully selected for quality, disposition and soundness. When you buy from us, you can be confident in what you take home. We stand behind these horses to be exactly as represented — 100%! Our past customers can attest to the fact that our word is good in regard to everything pertaining to the sale.” ~ Bill Smith
Bill Smith is a World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider and is known for being an amazing a horseman who puts on clinics to share his wealth of knowledge and expertise, but I thought it would be fun to get the back story and hear more about the lady behind the scenes, Carole Smith.
I recently asked Carole Smith a few questions…
Cavvy Savvy: Please tell us about your back story.
Carole Smith: My back story is that I always had horses and grew up riding mostly bareback because we could not afford a saddle or it made my parents not worry so much if I took off for a ride bareback. I grew up in the Big Timber / Livingston, Montana area and attended Montana State University in Bozeman. I started barrel racing in junior high and high chool rodeoed all four years. I made it to three National High School Rodeo Finals in those four years. While at MSU on a small rodeo scholarship, I qualified for the rodeo team. In those days we had goat tying and barrel racing. I was on the team four years and qualified for three National Intercollegiate rodeos. In 1966, I was named the National Intercollegiate All Around Cowgirl. I majored in Elementary Education, so following graduation I got my first teaching job in Prescott, Arizona. I taught for 26 years, my last being in Thermopolis, Wyoming where we have resided for 37 years.
CS: How did you and Bill meet?
Carole Smith: We met rodeoing! I was teaching school, but had a very nice gelding that I raised by Printers Devil out of an appendix registered mare that I barrel raced on in high school and college. So I decided I would stop teaching for a while and try my hand at barrel racing professionally. Bill and I had mutual friends that got us acquainted, but the first I really remember having any contact was Bill was at the Burwell, Nebraska rodeo. He was a world champion bronc rider and was asked to take an introduction. I carried the flag in the grand entry he said, “I will borrow this horse because this girl has long legs and I won’t have to change the strips.” We started dating and were married in 1979. I was back to teaching school by then in Cody, Wyoming. I qualified for the NFR in barrel racing in 1973. Shortly after my horse got navicular so I retired him and went back to teaching. In those days we did not have a string of backup horses so my career was basically over as a pro barrel racer. I didn’t have the money to buy another like Printer.
CS: Tell us about your horse program and the WYO Quarter Horse Sale.
Carole Smith: Back in the late 70’s we were getting geldings ready and taking them to various sales. So when we moved to Thermopolis and 1981, we decided to have our own sale. It was Bill and his family that put the horses in the first May sale in 1983. As a family sale, we stayed that way, and it is still a family sale with the exception of a partner, H. B. Woody Bartlett who joined us in 1999. We now produce two sales a year. One in May and the other in September. This year marks the 37th May sale that was held May 19th and 18th and fall sale as of September 8th. (This upcoming weekend!)
CS: What was it like when you first started the WYO Quarter Horse Sale, and how has it changed over the years?
Carole Smith: We first started very small, but our first sale was a success. We sold 47 head and sold them well so we thought, this is easy. Over the years we have found that there are fewer QUALITY geldings available and they cost more. Trying to keep up the quality is very hard to do. Also there are more good sales around the country, as well as dealing with the overhead of advertising, feed, transportation, horse purchases, etc… The margin of profit has shrunk.
CS: Tell us about your most memorable moments.
Carole Smith: Every year is memorable as we are so grateful that we have been blessed to stay in this business for as long as we have. It was a lot of fun when the new horses come to the ranch and we ride them for the first time. Probably the most memorable moment was when a home raised gelding by Tee Jay Three Bars sold for $81,000. He was Bill’s brother Rick’s horse, but all of us were dang sure shell-shocked. The gray gelding named Wyo Gray Bars Butch sold to Maryland and is still alive.
CS: What are you excited about this year?
Carole Smith: The quality of the horses we have for this year’s WYO Quarter Horse Sale is exciting. Many nice horses of color and gentleness. Our sale has evolved into those folks that want a pretty horse that they can ride on the trails and maybe not everyday or even every month. We have them. They can check them out on our online catalog at www.wyohorses.com
CS: What are your future plans?
Carole Smith: We will keep producing two sales a year. No ending date yet.
CS: Tell us about Bill’s clinics.
Carole Smith: Bill learned from Ray hunt. He used to travel a lot of miles all over the country putting on four-day Colt Starting and Horsemanship clinics. When we started our fall sales 17 years ago, he cut back. We now have one clinic a year which is around the end of March. He offers colt starting and horsemanship. Bill also helps Woody Bartlett start his 2 year olds in June each year. They usually start around 40 colts.
Be sure to check out their sale THIS WEEKEND!!!
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About Tiffany Schwenke
My family has been ranching and raising horses for over 100 years. We raise, train, and market AQHA horses at North Four Mile Creek Horse Ranch. We produce the annual event WYO WILD RIDE RANCH RODEO. I am a wife and a mother to 3 amazing...