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Features
For the week of May 31 through June 6, 2000

An auction for women
of the West


By KEVIN WISER
Express Staff Writer

5th annual Women of the West Performance Horse SaleThe women of the West strutted their stuff and their horses over Memorial Day weekend at Picabo rancher Katie Breckenridge’s spread.

The colorful event—the fifth annual Women of the West Performance Horse Sale—was 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 the biding.

5th annual Women of the West Performance Horse SaleReferring 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, here’s a good egg.

"Do I hear 35, 35 on him, 35, 35 and a half, 36. It’s not what you pay, it’s 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 Mother’s Day, did you remember Valentine’s Day, all the days you were supposed to? Now’s your chance to make it right."

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, "He’s got withers and he’s 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."

5th annual Women of the West Performance Horse SaleOver the years, Breckenridge said, people have purchased B-Bar-B horses for many different purposes—as cutting horses to work cattle, for show and competition and for pleasure riding.

Speaking to the crowd before the auction, Breckenridge said it’s time for women to be recognized for the role they’ve 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."

 

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