It's the first weekend in January at the Hyder-Burk Pavilion in Cookeville, Tennessee and a steady stream of folks are shuffling into a plain, institutional brown cement building a few miles outside of the city limits. Like most Saturdays in January on the Cumberland Plateau, it's cold, sloppy, and folks don't putter-around getting from the gravel parking lot, through the big steel doors, inside to the relative warmth blasting from the forced-air propane heaters hanging hanging above. Inside, there is the welcoming buzz commensurate with a gathering of a few hundred people, milling around and eating lunch on their feet.
However, this is no Lunch Rotary, these people are here for one of the most respected Angus Bull Sales in Tennessee and Kentucky. This is a true small-town USA cattle auction with big money on the line. Some folks might come to be seen, but most are there to talk business in one way or another, even if they aren't looking to buy cattle that day. The state agriculture commissioner is regular and state politicians, who know better than to forget their agrarian roots, are always working the crowd. The chili, cokes, coffee and homemade pies are free (and delicious), but make no mistake, folks are here to pick over and bid on over 300 of the best Angus bulls, cows and young-calves in the Southeast. Starting at noon and ending less than 2 hours later, well over 1/2 million dollars cash will trade hands in the mad flurry of jabbing, jockeying, and bulling that defines the American auction--it's confusing, strangely enthralling, and something everyone should see once.
Over the years, a few things have changed--cattle are no longer brought into the actual sale ring, it's all done via digital video and big screen television sets. Cows in the ring or not, the sound is something reminiscent of what one might expect at the Grundy County Auction. Check out the 2017 sales report, you will see the Curl and Lee names at the top of the list. Great beef is no accident, it takes a lifetime commitment to seek out the best genetics available, sometimes a lot of money and a whole, whole lot of hard work, to develop that potential into a fantastic end product. We believe that tasting is believing. Give us a try!