Read Darrell's recollections about the record setting llama sale, including the highest selling llama of all time, Newevo for $220,000.
Click here to read the full interview inside of issue three
Darrell remembered, “When you got that catalog no matter how you felt towards Bon or how you felt about suris you couldn’t hardly stay away, you had to be there. It was amazing. They were promoters, the pictures were unbelievable. There were 200 pictures in that catalog; there wasn’t a bad picture in the bunch. I can’t imagine how many hours they spent getting those pictures.”
Darrell described a top-rate event and gave Bon and Cindy Burgess ample credit for the success of the weekend. The first memory Darrell shared from the event wasn’t quite what I expected, “When I stepped up on the block getting ready to start the sale, the herd sires were stalled straight out the other side of the tent, you could see them out there. And Chasca stood at one of those 5-foot panels, from a standstill he just cleared it, went over to the other side. I said, ‘Bon did you see that?!’ and he said, ‘Oh yeah he does that all the time.’”
Chasca wouldn’t be the only one jumping up and down before the weekend was over. The sale started strong but a big spike in enthusiasm came as an outcross white suri male named Chileno Cuello Largo sold as lot 10 for $110,000. “People would buy $100,000 animal and when I’d say sold, they’d jump up and hug each other and clap and scream and yell.” Darrell recalled, “People today... I don’t know what they’d think. They wouldn’t know what to think.”
Lot 10 would not keep his title of “high seller” for very long. Coming up at lot 15 was the talk of the sale, Newevo. Newevo was previously co-owned with Hinterland llamas and already had some name recognition before the sale. Newevo would end up as the star of the sale and would claim a title he still holds today, the highest-selling llama of all time. Darrell told us, “He was kind of the feature male. At the time he was very unique, the color was cool and his fiber was cool but I had no idea he was going to bring that kind of money. Right before we were getting ready to start I asked Bon, ‘What’s the interest look like in Newevo?’ and he said ‘I think he could bring $50,000.’ And I said ‘Woah!’, and then we got going and he got to $220,000 very quickly.”
Newevo may have been the high seller, but the sale would have two additional animals reach six figures, and many others in the upper five figures before the weekend was over. “Here was the beauty of selling Newevo, he was lot 15.” Darrell said, “We sold him for $220,000 and of course the place goes wild. I wasn’t 100% sure that it was a record price, I hadn’t been around llamas as much and I knew they had sold some high dollar animals in the past. Andy Tillman was there and he said that was the record selling male llama, so of course, we announced that. Well, then the beauty of it was everything that was bred to him or was out of him you could just add $50,000 to it. There were llamas that sold for 60, 70, 80 thousand that would have sold for $10,000 if they weren’t bred to him. It was just a beautiful thing.”
With nearly 200 lots to sell, Bon and Cindy split their sale between two days. “The first day we sold 100 head and got $1.6 million. And I thought ‘Wow. These people are going to go home and say, ‘What have we done?’ But we started up the second day like we never skipped a beat and sold $1.6 million the second day. 100 head both days, $3.2 million. I had no idea it was going to go that well. I asked Cindy after the sale, I said, ‘Cindy what were you hoping for?’ And she said, ‘We were hoping for a million dollars.’ And we did $3.2 million.”
Bob and Toni Skousen were the high bidders on Newevo, and the volume buyers in the sale, purchasing many other high dollar animals. Darrell addressed the whispers he’s heard second hand in the 16 years since the sale took place, “There were rumors afterward that it was rigged, that Bob and Bon had something worked out ahead of time. Well, if that was the case I’d be really surprised because Bon never said boo to me about it. To my knowledge, everything was above board. Everything sold for what they said it sold for. There wasn’t any monkey business going on as far as I know. And usually, if you’re going to have something like that go on you tell the auctioneer so you’re aware of what’s happening. But I don’t think Bob ever said no all day long to a bid, I think he bought everything he wanted to. They said he’d just sold his business the month before for several million dollars so he had some pocket change.”
Then Darrell told what would soon become my favorite story that he shared from the Burgess Final Fiesta sale. “So it was the second day and everybody was leaving, and saying, ‘great job’.” Darrell said, “There was a big pasture where all the cars were parked and it was just me and Merlene, and these two ladies come up behind me and they’re yelling, ‘Mr. Anderson, Mr. Anderson!’ and they come up and introduce themselves; they were from Florida. They said, ‘We just want you to know, we’re so amazed, we don’t know how you do it. We just don’t know how you do it.”
Darrell pauses and reenacts being very proud of himself as the 3.2 million dollar man, “So I’m kind of puffing up my chest you know, and they said, ‘You were up there for 7 hours and you never went to the bathroom once!” Darrell laughs as he continues, “I said, ‘So you’re amazed by my bladder! How do you know I never went? We’ve got a big auction block up there.’ So that kind of brought me back down to earth.” The entire table was laughing at this wonderful story, told so well by this practiced storyteller. I found it so admirable that this humbling memory would be one of the stories Darrell chose to share from this very important weekend in his auction career.
Thank you to our issue three sponsors: Hidden Oaks Llama Ranch, Double S Llama Ranch, Great Northern Ranch, Wild Oaks Llama Ranch, Solid Rock Llamas, and Caledonia Llamas.