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Circle J Futurity Auction Highlights A Weekend In The Rockies

by Diana Davidson
Posted February 7, 2002
The Circle J Futurity Auction once again marked the first event of the year in the Colorado Morgan community. This year's auction was the highlight of a full weekend planned to entertain the Morgan contingent from Colorado as well as those attracted from more distant locales. The weekend began with a lovely party hosted by David and Cindy Vogels of Andover Farm on Friday evening.

Saturday morning's activities began at the Inverness Hotel with a pair of informative seminars. Dr. Kory Neiswinder from CSU began with a presentation on broodmare care and new breeding techniques regarding semen collection and transportation being developed within the CSU community. The first seminar blended in beautifully with the following seminar given by Dr. Mervyn Jacobson of XY, Inc. He discussed such new techniques as using low dose semen and using dead sperm to impregnate mares along with being able to choose which sex you want before inseminating horses as well as cows, pigs, gorillas and even killer whales!

The Colorado farm tour began on Saturday with a visit to The River's Edge in Elizabeth, Colorado where Mary Cockriel and Bob Kellert showed off some of their upcoming stars for the 2002 show season. The tour continued on Sunday with a trip to the Fort Collins area. The first stop was a visit to Gail Bratz and Mervyn Jacobson's beautiful Stove Prairie Ranch. Attendees enjoyed a beautiful champagne brunch and the had the chance to be entertained and educated. In addition to seeing some of the ranch's show stars and upcoming youngsters under the guidance of trainer Kathy Shorten, Stove Prairie was also the site of an informative and well received clinic. Top-winning in hand trainers John Hufferd and Bob Kellert were the clinicians for the event designed to show attendees some of the techniques that could help them win the top prize of $50,000 in the Circle J Futurity. The Fort Collins tour finished off with a visit to John McDonald's new stable named Greyrock along with Rickford Stables.

The main event of the weekend was of course the eighth annual Circle J Futurity Auction. On Saturday, January 19, 2002, Morgan owners, breeders, and fans gathered at the Inverness Hotel and Golf Club, in Englewood, Colorado. Circle J Futurity Chairman Gail Bratz welcomed everyone and started off by challenging the crowd. Her challenge was that if $100,000 or more was raised that evening, the Circle J Futurity would raise the first place prize money from $30,000 to $50,000 for the year 2004. And they went for it!

Bratz also made a point of reminding people that if they want to show their yearlings at the Circle J Futurity this summer, they MUST nominate their yearling by March 31st, 2002, or they will pay a late penalty of $1500 until entries are due for the Circle J Show.

It was then time for the microphone to be turned over to master of ceremonies for the evening Bill Carrington and for the anticipatory bidders to start doing what they do best. The first items up for bid were a variety of donations from the local members as well as supporters from throughout the country. The items included advertising, vacations, artwork, training, and breeding related items.

The Circle J Futurity Auction has long been noted for many firsts. Last year's auction offered the first-ever opportunity to purchase a foal sexing donated by XY, Inc. Dr. Mervyn Jacobson, President and CEO of XY, Inc., was on hand to see the spirited bidding with none other than Gail Bratz turning in the winning bid of $5,500. It was purchased for Lookaway's Sabrina and her surprise mate to produce a filly.

The auction items brought in a total of over $12,000 nurtured by Carrington. This was merely a prelude to the stallion service auction that followed. A field of nineteen of the top stallions available were offered to bidders in attendance along with many calling in over the phone. Bidders were also given the chance to vie for the "Name your stallion" and "Name your mare" slots which have been an extremely popular addition for the past few years.

Once again this year, an excited Gail Bratz offered the top bid of the evening as she secured the breeding to the great sire of champions Futurity French Command with an enthusiastic bid of $12,000. The Circle J Auction also pulled off quite a coup with the only 2002 breeding to the late World Champion Man About Town LPS being offered. A phone bid by Roxanne Sardelli of $10,000 secured the opportunity.

A pair of bids were the next highest at $6,000 with the top show and breeding stallions HVK Courageous Flaire and Salem Command earning the bids. Barbara Ebbert made the winning bid on HVK Courageous Flaire while Peeper Ranch phoned in the winning bid on Salem Command. Nobility, a world champion and sire of world champions, rounded out the top five with Bill and Kathy Taylor securing the breeding for $5,100.

The remaining stallions all collected excellent bids with most going for at or above their published breeding fees. The resulting foals from the winning bids on AMHF Mr. Courageous, Cabot French Pepper, Carlyle Upper Caisse, Chandel Absolut, FCF Rhythm Nation, HRH Legend Command, Issues 'N Answers, Menomin Yankee D Dandy, Nicoria, Simply Maserati, Stonecroft Byzantine, Tug Hill Celebrity, Ultra's Special Agent, and Whispering Whammunition along with five slots in the "Name your mare" and "Name your stallion" categories will also be eligible to vie for the $50,000 top prize in the 2004 Circle J Futurity.

The 2002 Circle J Futurity Auction raised a total of $113,925 much to the delight of the committee, the bidders and the donors. The hard work of the committee and the generosity of the donors as well as the bidders ensures the continued success of this record-setting program. Due to the success of this year's auction the payout for the Champion "Auction-Get" Yearling in 2004 will be $50,000! The Circle J Futurity promises to continue to set records and trends in the Morgan industry for years to come.

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