By Casey Crowley

Cattle ranchers from across the Northwest descended on Baker Valley Monday for the 40th-annual Harrell Hereford Ranch Spring Bull Roundup sale at the ranch along Salmon Creek west of Baker City.

But those who walked through the snow on a chilly late winter day weren’t the only ones bidding on the cattle. Ranchers across the nation were also able to submit bids via the phone or the internet.

There were more remote bidders this year, something Bob Harrell attributes to the recent wintry weather across much of the West.

“We’ve got a good customer base that has been with us for a long time and so we are trying to do everything we can to accommodate them,” Harrell said.“What makes a good sale is when you have more buyers than what you have bulls.”

Up for auction this year were 140 bulls, about 100 heifers and 11 quarter horses.

“If our crowd is good then we should get along all right — we have a really good set of bulls this year, good set of heifers, so it’s just kind of up to how bad they are needing them,” Harrell said.

Buyers were able to see live video of every bull when it went on the auction block. The Harrells’ website also had pre-recorded video of every bull for sale.

Although the ranch added this technology to the spring sale a few years ago, Harrell said he still tries to attract as many potential buyers in person.

He said those bidders are more willing to pay more for a bull than those who participate online.

“Our objective is to try to get them to come to the sale and most people do, it’s just that weather sometimes is tough,” Harrell said.

See more in the March 6, 2019, issue of the Baker City Herald.