Red Bluff, California
Red Bluff Bull & Gelding Sale
When is a sale not just a sale? When it’s January in Red Bluff, where ranchers and horsemen converge to indulge their love of fine livestock, tough competition, and top-notch sales. Over five days, some 30,000 enthusiasts descend on this Northern California city (population 14,000) to admire and perhaps bid on some of the West’s best bulls, ranch geldings, and stock dogs. And that’s just the beginning of the fun.
The Facts: $39K | Price of all-time high-selling gelding, first achieved in 2009.
A Western art show and trade show backdrop this event, which begins with stock-dog working trials over the first three days, culminating with the Stock Dog Sale on Friday.
Sale geldings compete on Thursday and Friday, showing at halter and under saddle in reining, cutting, reined cow horse, trail, and calf branding. Doors to the Pauline Davis Pavilion open for the Sale of Quarter Horse & Paint Geldings on Friday night, with Vic Woolery’s Famous Tri-Tip BBQ before and during the sale.
The bulls go on the block Saturday morning, followed by the Cinch Jeans Buckin’ Best Bull Riding contest that night—and a dance party to cap the event.
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A 50-minute drive will take you to the 1. Wild Horse Sanctuary in Shingletown. Sponsor a horse or burro, or make plans to return in spring for a trail ride through the horses’ serene pastures.
For beef, try the 2. Timbers Steakhouse at Rolling Hills Casino 25 minutes south in Corning, or the 3. Green Barn Steakhouse in Red Bluff proper. If excellent Mexican is what you’re craving, try 4. La Corona, also in town.
If you don’t buy a horse, dog, or bull, you’ll have plenty to spend at the event’s amazing Western art and trade show. Or go downtown to find an assortment of cozy antique stores and boutiques.
This year marks the 77th annual Bull Sale, 56th Gelding Sale, and 40th Dog Sale. Though founded to draw higher quality stock to the area, the auctions have also attracted top entertainment—including, in the early days, such luminaries as Tennessee Ernie Ford, Rex Allen, and Mel Tormé. In 1957, boxing’s Max Baer auctioned off a bull for charity.