BILLINGS, Montana—In response to the continued demand for great rope horses and prospects and in reaction to the COVID-19 Crisis, Billings Livestock is moving its traditional April Rope Horse Sale to its online platform, offering 20 elite rope horses and prospects via its Northern Livestock Video platform.
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Buyers must register to bid, and if they haven’t done business with Billings Livestock in the last 22 years, they must provide a bank statement.
“Originally, in March, we added a day because we had 410 head of horses and mules in that sale,” Billing’s Livestock’s Jann Parker explained. “When all this came down and we couldn’t have the sale, we left all of those horses on our website. They were up there a month at least. We hoped that people would get calls on them, and that people would be able to sell them so that people would be able to make their car payments and their mortgages that month. Really, we want to give back to an industry that gives so much. But I had people call me and say they had so much interest in their horses on our website that they didn’t know how to price them. That’s the magic of a horse sale. They wanted to sell their horses in competitive bidding environments. So, last month, we decided to try it.”
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There was so much interest in that sale in March that it crashed the BLS website, Parker said.
“So this rope horse sale, we’ve had horses consigned to that sale for a while,” Parker said. “I took the consignors who wanted to shift over to the online bidding, and not all of them, because I can’t handle all of them. The truth is that buyer confidence has always been really important at Billings. We want you to call the consignor, talk to them, get more videos, even try the horse if you can.”
The online bidding starts Thursday, April 23 at noon, and it closes at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 24. Bidding will be extended by two minutes if there’s active bidding. The platform allows online bidding only, in $100 increments. Each horse is located at consignor’s premise or residence.
For buyers who aren’t as tech-savvy and have doubts about their ability to do online bidding, Parker encourages them to reach out and let her know how she and her team can help at 406-245-4151.
Billings Livestock has weathered three other major shutdown periods before.
“Since Bill and I took it over in 1998, the first time it shook me to the bone was September of 2001. We were 10 days after 9/11, and we still couldn’t fly planes. We had three days of horse sales scheduled, and it certainly was humbling. In 2005, there was Vesticular Stomatitis, and in 2011 with Equine Herpes. It’s all part of it. You want things good all the time, but you don’t win all the time. Real winners learn how to come out of negative situations in a positive way. Nobody is more ready to have a real horse sale than me and Billings Livestock. We can’t wait to get back on track, but until then, this is us.” TRJ