Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 7, 2010

Horse sales a popular Gate City draw

CATLETTSBURG — If you’re in the market for a horse or anything else equine-elated, you might want to consider visiting the Catlettsburg Stockyard on the second or fourth Wednesday of the month.

That’s when the stockyard holds it horse auctions and tack sales.

The events draw large numbers of both people and animals, as a recent sale proved.

Click for a slide show of the Catlettsburg Stockyards.

Parking was scarce around the stockyard. And inside, the pens were filled with horses of all shapes and sizes, along with a few mules and donkeys thrown into the mix for good measure.

“We usually have a couple hundred people here, sometimes more,” said Josh McKay, who runs the stockyard with his father, Tom.

On this particular night, McKay estimated there were between 150 and 175 horses waiting to be sold.

It’s not quite like the old days, when animals were shipped into the stockyard by the tractor-trailer load to be auctioned off, then loaded onto rail cars and shipped out when the sales were finished. But, it’s still enough to make the stockyard a popular place, and one that draws a fair amount of revenue into the Gate City.

“The people who come here for the sales, they buy cigarettes and gas here and they eat in the restaurants here,” McKay said.

And make no mistake about it, the sales draw people from long distances away — folks like Jason Leger, who’s from Broadhead, in Rockcastle County, an approximately four-drive from Catlettsburg.

On this night, Leger is hoping to make some money. He’s at the stockyard with about a dozen horses to sell. It’s also the first time he’s been to one of the sales there.

“We just heard about it and thought we’d come and try it,” he said.

Charles Spradlin of Ashland said he rarely misses a horse sale at the stockyard.

“Sometimes I’ll buy one, and other times, I’ll just watch,” said Spradlin, who described as “a trail-rider, mostly.”

Spradlin said he is usually able to find good deals on horses and supplies at the sales.

The stockyard has been a fixture in Catlettsburg for right around 60 years. The McKays, who are from Lincoln County, W.Va., leased the facility from its long-time owners, the Bowling family, in December 2003.

The Bowlings had closed the stockyard because they said they were unable to devote the time to it that it required. The McKays reopened it in December 2004 after making a number of improvements.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.


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