HELENA – Gary Burnham, owner at Prickly Pear Simmental Ranch, is preparing for his annual sale of Simmental and Simangus bulls.

As a seed-stock rancher, Burnham, wife Loretta and their employees spend months getting ready for the sale which is a major source of income to the ranch.

“We actually clip them all and get them all ready and we got to do a lot of advertising and produce a catalogue and reach out to customers,” Burnham said.

At last years sale, the bulls sold for an average of $4,000 each with some fetching as high as $8,000 for special ones.

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“There’s always that stand out [bull] that’s an all around everything. So, you get a couple buyers wanting the same animal. They’ll bid them up until they get them,” Burnham said.

For the past four years, Burnham has taken the auction online with a livestream of the sale through www.dvauction.com. He said that makes it easier for those who can’t make it to still bid on the bulls. Burnham said some people come from hundreds of miles away to attend the sale.

While it is a lot of work, Burnham isn’t doing it alone. He has two full time employees and some part time employees.

The challenge, according to Burnham, is finding workers that are the right fit for the job.

“They’ve got to love the work. When you find one that really loves this work, you try to hang on to them. You have to have the passion for it because it’s so much work,” Burnham said.

The bull sale begins Saturday at 1 p.m at Prickly Pear Simmental Ranch at 2515 Canyon Ferry Road. For more details click here.