Penn State trots out horses for annual sale

bmilazzo@centredaily.comMay 3, 2014 

— The quick, rhythmic repetition of the auctioneer’s calling filled the Snider Agricultural Arena on Saturday afternoon as Penn State sold 12 horses to the highest bidders.

Ben Nolt’s voice echoed in the facility as bidders quietly raised their hand at nearly every pitch.

It was all part of the 12th annual Penn State Equine Science Showcase and Quarter Horse Auction, which helped raised money for the cost of breeding and training quarter horses, in addition to helping fund the equine science program at Penn State, said Katie Kimmons, a Penn State senior and spokeswoman for the event.

All 12 horses were bred, born and raised at Penn State, and the first to sell — Kuel On The Rox, a 3-year-old reining horse — went for the highest price, at $6,700.

That beat last year’s highest price by $1,200, Kimmons said.

The goal was to at least raise $18,000.

Each horse had a minimum bid of $1,500, and those that did not sell will be sold next year.

The event attracted about 500 people, according to event manager Jillian Spector, but those bidders said they did their fair share of homework before buying their steed.

Julianne Cahill never owned a horse until Saturday afternoon.

For the past couple of weeks, she researched the horses up for sale and picked the one best for her needs.

The Lewistown resident and Penn State graduate said she got into horseback riding in eighth grade. Now, at age 25 with a passion for riding, it was time to buy her first horse.

Cahill had the highest bid on Mescalita Bonita — a 2-year-old reining horse — for $4,200.

“It’s just exciting,” said Cahill, who plans to further train for western-style riding.

A Penn State equine marketing class organized the event with more than 60 students, each with a different responsibility.

Kimmons said the auctions have been going on for more than 50 years, but were put in the hands of the students 12 years ago as a way to give them real-world experience they couldn’t find solely in the classroom.

A date for next year’s event will be picked within the month, while more planning will start in the fall when school is back in session, Kimmons said. By next January, auction committees will be formed.

“It’s something we’re always thinking about because it’s so big,” Kimmons said.

And for students who are a part of the program, while they say the auction is for a good cause, it’s sometimes hard to see the animals go.

“You get attached, because we spend so much time with them,” Spector said.

“But we also help breed and raise them for others we know can give them the best quality of life.”

Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.

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