An auction for women
of the West
By KEVIN WISER
Express Staff Writer
The women of the West strutted their stuff and their horses over Memorial Day
weekend at Picabo rancher Katie Breckenridges spread.
The colorful eventthe fifth annual Women of the West Performance
Horse Salewas held Saturday at her B-Bar-B Ranch. The approximately 350 people who
showed up saw some top-of-the-line quarter horses, raised, trained and ridden by women
from Idaho, California and Oregon.
Calling the auction to order, Breckenridge welcomed those in attendance
and proclaimed, "the day belongs to the ladies, the women of the West."
She acknowledged the special cowboys in her life, and said preserving the
values that have made the West great through integrity, grit and hard work will require a
partnership between men and women--cowboys and cowgirls.
Sitting atop the auction stand with auctioneer and fast- talker Bill
Lefty, from Roseville, Calif., Breckenridge introduced horse and rider while Lefty started
Referring to a cowgirl from Oreana, Idaho, in the saddle, Breckenridge
declared, "Shirley [Murdock] has been a true image of the West
a great horse
ridden by a great lady."
"Fifteen hundred, 15, 15 and a half," barked Lefty. "You
want to buy a cow horse and you want a pretty one, heres a good egg.
"Do I hear 35, 35 on him, 35, 35 and a half, 36. Its not what
you pay, its what you take home."
Ringman Rod Wesselman from Moses Lake, Wash., and Jerry York from Great
Falls, Mont., paced around the sale ring, searching the crowd for buyers, barking out bids
back to the auctioneer.
Coaxing a gentleman to stay in the bidding and buy a horse for the lady in
his life, Lefty said, "Sir, did you remember Mothers Day, did you remember
Valentines Day, all the days you were supposed to? Nows your chance to make it
The sale also featured horses bred and raised on the B-Bar-B Ranch by
Breckenridge, fellow rancher and partner Rob Struthers and ranch hand Justin Bailey.
Pitching a sale for a B-Bar-B horse, Lefty said, "Hes got
withers and hes got some hip, this is a real nice gelding born in one of the best
parts of America, right out here in the [Picabo] sagebrush."
Over the years, Breckenridge said, people have purchased B-Bar-B horses for
many different purposesas cutting horses to work cattle, for show and competition
and for pleasure riding.
Speaking to the crowd before the auction, Breckenridge said its time
for women to be recognized for the role theyve played in the development of Western
culture and, to be sure, for their ability to handle a horse and run a ranch.
"In history books women never had names," she said. "We
were known as the squaw, the mother, the woman on the prairie and the whore.
"Now we have names and people are realizing the integral part we
played in settling the West and the role we play today in keeping the West Western."