Horses go on the block

Eldon Krebs, of Gordon, Neb., (far left) watches a video of a horse Saturday along with Ryan Andrews, of Beaumont, Texas, at Clovis Livestock Auction’s Fall Horse Sale. Andrews, who sells horses, has them on video tape for buyers to watch.

By Janet Bresenham

They come from all over the United States and south and north of the border for one reason: to buy and sell horses at the Clovis Livestock Auction.
The three-day Fall Horse Sale, which began Friday and continues all day today starting at 10 a.m., features close to 900 horses, according to Karen Gonser, the horse sale secretary in charge of registration.
“I sell more horses here than anywhere,” said Kent Thiessen of Elk City, Okla. “The staff here have been real good to me. They stand behind my horses. Clovis is a pretty famous place. It’s probably one of the oldest established gelding sales in the country.”
The Clovis Livestock Auction conducts four horse sales a year in March, May, August and November.
“We don’t have a fancy facility,” said Steve Friskup, who serves as auctioneer and horse sale manager. “We’re just an old sale barn, but we have good people working on our staff and we’re honest. We try to do a good job.”
The result is that the horse sale has become well-known and attracts a variety of buyers and sellers.
“It’s been a major horse sale since 1937, so there’s a lot of reputation around here,” Friskup said. “We’ve pretty much become the premier ranch horse and rope horse sale in the nation.”
One of the potential buyers Saturday was Flip Frazee, a retired vice-commander of the 27th Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base who now serves as the Air Force ROTC instructor at Clovis High School.
“I’ve got a horse, but I’m looking for one for my wife,” Frazee said. “I came out Friday to look around and bought a saddle. So if you’ve got a saddle, you’ve got to buy a horse. We want a nice, gentle pony.”
Frazee said he and his wife just want horses to go riding for fun or to take up to the mountains.
“This is about my third time here at the horse sale,” Frazee said. “I’ve always wanted to have a horse, but being in the military and moving around every two years, I couldn’t. Now that I’m retired, it’s time.”
Len Kidd had a simple explanation for why he drove two long days from southern Alberta in Canada to reach the horse sale in Clovis.
“They said it was one of the biggest sales in the United States,” Kidd said. “I brought five horses to sell. But I’m not buying any because it would cost me $1.30 to get $1 worth of one of your horses in this country.”
Ryan Andrews “drove completely across Texas” from Beaumont to try to sell 10 horses for the first time in Clovis.
“I hope to go home with nothing,” Andrews said. “We’ve sold everything so far. This seems to be a pretty good sale.”
For 11-year-old Blake Wiley of Clovis, who was sitting on the steps of the building playing with his grandfather’s new puppy “Snip,” coming to the horse sale boils down to a few simple joys.
“I like to see all the horses and just be here with my grandfather,” he said. “My Pappy comes here from Dublin, Texas, to buy horses.”
In addition to the sale and performance demonstrations of horses, the Clovis Livestock Auction also will host a cowboy church service at 7:30 a.m. today inside the building’s sale ring.