ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville was a sea of Stetsons this weekend
for the 19th Annual Willow Oak Chiangus Ranch Best Black Bulls in America Sale.
This year marked the Willow Oak’s 12th sale at the McKinney Chapel show barn of President and
Manager, Richard Arnold. The event’s exciting auction and catered lunch drew not only over 100
bull buyers from all across the country, but also Arnold’s fellow church members, former high-school
classmates, Willow Oak ranch hands, and their families. This year’s sale featured 136 Chiangus bulls
with a lot average of $4269 and lot high of $20,000.
“Obviously, this is
another year the bulls moved forward. They all did great,” said Arnold. “We had a great crowd, and
we are very happy to have everybody here.”
For the past 30 years, Willow
Oak has developed a breeding program focused on providing improvement genetics to the cattle
industry. The cattle are modern Angus Hybrid genetics with purebred predictability.
“It’s one of the few auctions that we do that is Chiangus genetics, a
hybrid of Chianina and Angus. We don’t do a whole lot of bull sales like that each year,” said Jason
Barber of Superior Livestock Auctions, Fortworth, TX. “Another thing that is unique about this
auction is that everything is sold over the television. No bulls are run through a ring in the show
“Bulls are featured on televisions, rather than live at the sale,
because it speeds up the auction and saves labor and liability,” added Barber. “The TV the sale
audience watches comes from Direct TV or RFD TV, on a satellite downlink.”
This year’s sale
featured almost a third more lots than last year.
“Our goal has always
been that we would like to get to about 150 bulls, but it takes a long time to do that if you are
going to keep the quality,” Arnold said. “If you are actually trying to raise bulls to fill all this
criteria, you can’t increase the numbers very quickly. You have to increase the mothers, then you’ve
got the three year lead time and all this other stuff, so when you decide to go forward, it’s a
three to four year process.”
Arnold takes great pride in Willow
Oak’s livestock and enjoys naming the ranch’s prized bulls.
we name the key bulls and all the offspring come from that,” says Arnold. “For example, we
named Double Star, and all his sons were Double Star-something. Double Star received his name
because he was homozygous on every gene test. Vindicator was actually named from of my favorite
movie, Rare Breed, with Jimmy Stewart.”
The annual Willow Oak sale is
considered a feather in Rogersville’s cap for many reasons, but locals especially appreciate the
economic impact of the weekend. Out-of-town sale guests were housed at local hotels, Amis Mills
Eatery catered Saturday’s auction, and Hale Springs Inn served as “home base” for organizers, who
dined at the inn’s restaurant, McKinney’s by Troutdale, on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Hank Robbins, a frequent bidder from Alabama, says that he and his wife
Sherri and children, Fort & Mia Cody, have been attending the sale for three years.
“It’s the best bull sale you can come to if you want a black bull,” says
Robbins. “There are no better. They are superior .”
For more information
about the Willow Oak Chiangus Ranch Best Black Bull in America Sale, visit http://www.willowoakranch.com