LIVE OAK COUNTY – Celebrating what has become a 45-year tradition, the Live Oak Beefmaster Breeders Association hosted a bull sale on Saturday, Jan. 11, that attracted buyers from throughout Texas as well as several other states and Mexico.

The sale generated $491,350 overall. The top 10 rated bulls at the event sold for a combined $121,500 with a bull from the Swinging B Ranch in Axtell bringing in $29,000.

The grand champion bull was from Lyssy & Sons of San Antonio, and sold for $12,500.

Siddons Beefmasters of Tilden had the No. 4 rated and No. 15 rated bulls in the sale. The No. 4 bull sold for $10,000 and the No. 15 bull brought in $4,500.

“We had a really good class of bulls,” said Melvin Scherer, association president. “They are getting more consistent and better every year.”

During the awards ceremony on Friday, Jan. 10, the following designations were given:

• New Member of the Year: Bill and Sheila Wilson of Rancho Costa Plenty in Starr County.

• Environmental Award: Jim and Pam Colvin with their ranch in Pawnee.

• Performance Award: Tyler and Wesley Gwosdz, with ranch operations in Live Oak and Jim Wells counties.

• Breeder of the Year: Flying B Ranches (Margaritas Beefmasters) of La Pryor.

• Member of the Year: Marie Welkener of Kenedy.

In addition to those from the United States buying the bulls, a strong contingent was on hand from Mexico attended the sale.

One of the new wrinkles of this year’s sale is that well over 100 people watched the auction live online thanks to the efforts of DVAuction.

Auctioneer and sale manager Anthony J. Mihalski said the internet component of the sale was a success.

“The new technology is working very well,” Mihalski said. “I didn’t think I’d ever see the day when it would work as well as it does.

Although the majority of the winning bids came from those sitting in the sale barn, there were some winning bids that were made online.

During the 2020 sale, 144 bulls were graded and the top 125 were sold.

Nine of the top 10 rated bulls in this year’s sale were raised in Texas, with the No. 5 rated bull coming from Lockwood, Missouri.

The Live Oak Beefmaster Breeders Association began in October 1974 in Three Rivers, and held its first sale in March 1975.

In January 1977, members of the organization signed a $50,000 note to build the Beefmaster Barn at the Live Oak County Fairgrounds, and the note was paid off in May 1981.

“It’s truly a remarkable story and a testament to the self reliability and free market outlook of those involved,” Mihalski said.

Before the sale began, Mihalski said this was the best group of bulls he had seen in the 41 years he has been coming to the Live Oak County sale.

The top ingredient for the Beefmaster Breeders’ success is the people involved, said Collin Osbourn, executive vice president of Beefmaster Breeders United.

“The people in the organization make it what it is,” Osbourn said. “Sure, we have great cable, but it’s the people involved who make the difference.”

In order to ensure the best quality cattle are available, Beefmasters are working with herds at Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and the University of Tennessee.

“It’s all about trying to maximize quality and profit,” Mihalski said. “I don’t think there’s a better breed that can do that today.

“We have the opportunity to breed outstanding cattle that last a long time. There’s no better cow in the industry than a Beefmaster cow.”

Before the sale began, Pettus High School senior Taheen (last name not provided) was recognized for her artwork which was selected to represent the Beefmasters on Christmas cards.

The original artwork was sold to Tim and Debbie Chapman of Rockport for $7,000.

Jeff Osborne is the editor of The Progress. He can be reached at 361-786-3022 or theprogress@mysoutex.com.