Successful Sales, Historic Venues: Clark Management Company offers unique horse sales in Park County
Downtown Cody has become a hub of Western culture and heritage, and nothing rings “Wild West” like Buffalo Bill’s historic Irma Hotel, fondly referred to as the Grand Old Lady of Cody.
According to the Irma’s website, the hotel was opened to the public on Nov. 1, 1902 and has remained a symbol of neighborliness and good cheer ever since.
“Everyone from Col. Cody, to princes and potentates, Indian chiefs and cowboys ‘came as they were’ to the Irma,” notes the website. “Cody stayed in the hotel frequently when he returned from his Wild West Show tours, and his personality and fame kept the Irma packed when he was in town.”
To this day, crowds of people still gather outside of the historic hotel, especially on Mother’s Day weekend when Clark Management Company, headed by TJ Clark, hosts their increasingly popular Cody Country Horse Sale.
Cody Country Horse Sale
Although the exact origin of the sale is hard to trace, TJ notes the Cody Country Horse Sale was started by the Hornecke brothers. After a few years, operations were handed over to TJ’s family, and after recently buying out Clark Management Company, the Clark’s have taken over all aspects of the sale.
“Last year was our first year in charge, and it has been great,” TJ states.
TJ notes the Cody Country Horse Sale is held annually on the second Sunday in May on Main Street in downtown Cody, right outside of Buffalo Bill’s historic Irma Hotel.
A ranch horse competition and open preview are held on the Friday evening before the sale so individuals can view the horses beforehand.
“It is a select sale so I sift through horses prior to creating the catalog and before they get here,” TJ explains. “If I find something I don’t like, I sift through them.”
Because of this, the Cody Country Horse Sale is known for offering a lineup of only the best, guaranteed high-quality horses from honest and reputable consignors, and has seen continuous increased success each year.
According to their website, for the past three years the Cody Country Horse Sale has averaged $19,000, $19,837 and $20,525, respectively, across total head sold.
In 2021, the high-selling horse brought $110,000, with the top four head averaging $56,100, and in 2022, the top-selling horse was purchased for $90,000, with the top four head averaging $62,000.
This year, the top sale price was punched at $54,000, with the top four head averaging $40,400.
Pitchfork Ranch Horse Sale
The Cody Country Horse Sale isn’t the only unique sale offered through Clark Management Company.
“We also put on the Pitchfork Horse Sale at the Pitchfork Ranch in Meeteetse,” says TJ. “This sale takes place on the first weekend in June, and we have been running it for a few years now.”
TJ explains the Pitchfork Horse Sale is quite different than most, complete with camping, music, dinner, dancing and a vendor fair, as well as a working dog trial and sale.
A branding is held on the Saturday morning before the sale, where consigned horses can be previewed prior to purchase.
“As with many great ideas, the Pitchfork Ranch Horse Sale came about after a couple of Keystone Lights and a long morning of branding calves,” reads the Pitchfork Ranch website. “Our goal was to put on an event that showcases ranch horses doing what they do best – working. The showing will consist of a good, ol’ fashioned Pitchfork Ranch branding, ranch reining, trail course, one and two man doctoring and a dog trial.”
Although this year’s sale was rainy and wet, TJ notes they had a good turnout and an overall successful sale, with horses averaging around $20,000.
“The Pitchfork Horse Sale is becoming the event of the year,” he says. “It takes place on a historic ranch, and I think everyone wants to set foot on it and check it out. Now, they don’t even have to be invited to go to the branding. They can just come and partake in the sale, the party and the dance. It is a lot of fun.”
Although this year’s sales have come and gone, TJ notes plans are already in the works for next year. Consignments will open on Oct. 1 and run through Dec. 19.
For more information on the Cody Country Horse Sale or the Pitchfork Ranch Horse Sale, respectively visit codyhorsesale.com or pitchforkranch.com/pitchforkhorsesale. To consign horses in the sale, contact TJ Clark at 307-272-4563.
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.