I would pop out of bed all sorts of excited and shimmy into my favorite pair of little boy Wranglers (because that’s all I wore till I was about 14 years old). We’d load the cattle in the dark and make the long drive in our trusty ranch truck. I am still not sure why I love sale barns so much, but I do.
Between sitting as still as you can because you are afraid you’ll buy that pen of steers if you scratch your nose and the bleachers that will give you hemorrhoids after sitting on them till your open cows sell, it doesn’t sound so fun. Despite all of that, I still love it. Maybe it’s the excellent burgers they serve, the catwalk you can take a strut on to browse the selection that was hauled in that day, or my personal favorite was to see if there were any other cute cowboys who came with their dads.
Since I have grown up, I still wear men’s Wranglers from time-to-time, and I still frequent the sale yard. Now the tables have turned a bit – I still load in the dark, but now I’m making the trip to the auction alone. I always get myself a great sale barn burger and ice cold Pepsi. I usually make a few friends by the time the cattle I brought sell. I get the same feeling I did as a little girl attending the sale with my dad, but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized what that feeling was.
If I could describe the feeling in one word, it would have to be “community.” We didn’t know each other at the start of the day, but by the time the auctioneer declared the cattle sold, we were all friends – united in the life of raising beef to feed the world. People were sincerely curious about who you were, where you were from and how your cattle sold. In this modern day and age, people might just see these people as nosey, but I don’t see it that way. I see the ranching community as one giant community where everyone is watching out for each other and people are truly interested in each other.
Next time the opportunity presents itself, shimmy on your favorite pair of Wranglers and head to the sale yard nearest you. Be sure to grab a great burger and be prepared to make some friends who will ask you all about who you are, where you are from and what makes you tick. Most of all enjoy that feeling of the ranching community you’ll experience while at the sale yard.
Tayler Teichert, a 24-year-old sixth-generation rancher, was born and raised ranching across the American West. Since she left home, she has worked in the Sandhills of Nebraska, the shadows of Elk Mountain, the high desert of Idaho and the sage of northern Nevada. In her writing and photography, she documents the action, beauty and everyday life on the ranch while working as a full-time ranch hand. You can learn more about Tayler and check out her photography on her website.
PHOTOS: A sale barn is like one giant community. At the end of the day, we’re all friends – united in raising beef to feed the world. Photos by Tayler Teichert.