The Bentz family’s annual Oregon event exceeds sales and attendance expectations.

The global coronavirus pandemic has halted several Western industry events, but select horse sales continue to have a record-setting year. The Ranchers Horse Sale, held June 6, 2020, in Juntura, Oregon, is no exception.

“We really didn’t know what to expect when we made the decision to hold the event,” says Erika Fitzpatrick, whose parents, Mike and Linda Bentz, started the sale in 1993 with partners Jim and Alicia Bentz, and Dick and Hoot Raney. “We anticipated potentially low attendance and prices, based on uncertainty of economic conditions within the livestock industry. But as we neared the sale date, we had a lot of interest and folks were contacting us desperate to know if we were still having it, worried they wouldn’t be able to find a horse with so many other sales cancelled. We felt an obligation to our consignors and buyers. People still need horses to get their work done, and so we decided to go forward.”

The Bentz family raises horses in Oregon.
The Bentz family hosts the annual Ranchers Horse sale in Juntura, Oregon.
Photo by Jennifer Denison

Held outside in a large, open field in the rural ranching community of Juntura, Oregon, the sale was created with the goal of “providing premium bridle horses, broke ranch horses and well-started colts for sale.” The Bentz family and their consignors strived to match horses with riders and offer a family friendly event that honored their horse and Western heritage.

Branding at Ranchers Horse Sale
The sales kicks off with a branding that allows consignors to showcase their horses’ skills.
Photo courtesy of RHS

The sale featured 24 stock horses trained for ranch work in the high desert of eastern Oregon.  In the morning, consignors showcased their horses’ skills while branding a small bunch of calves in the sale preview. Then the live auction was held in the afternoon.  The Bentz family reported having record sales and attendance.

Horses auctioned at Ranchers Horse Sale
In June, Ranchers Horse Sale had record-setting sales and attendance, despite the global pandemic.
Photo courtesy of RHS

Sale Total: $365, 950 (24 horses)

Sale Average: $15, 248 (an increase of  $5,296 over 2019)

High Selling Horse: Frekles Meradas Ike (Smooth Talk Doc x Cibecue Sage by Cibecue Ike, a 5-year-old Quarter Horse gelding consigned by Dave Bosen, $30,000.

Mike Bentz Memorial Horse Award: Tuff, an 11-year-old gelding raised and sold by Mike’s son, Ethan Bentz, for $29,500. Tuff was Ethan’s go-to horse on the family ranch for several years.

Horses and riders are matched at Ranchers Horse Sale
Consignors discuss their horses with potential buyers.
Photo courtesy of RHS

The Bentz family will host their annual Ranchers Heifer Sale November 14 at the sale barn in Juntura.

For more information on the horse or heifer sale, visit Read more about the Bentz family and their spur-branded horse program at V Box Land & Livestock in the story “Stand for the Brand” featured in the June issue of Western Horseman.

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