There’s a tradition in the Central Coast Western horse community around the beginning of November every year called the Rick Machado Livestock “Main Event” Horse and Stock Dog Sale. This year the sale is on November 8th with check in and the preview beginning that Thursday and Friday and features 6 consigned Stock Dogs and 83 horses all present by Invitation Only. The sale and its staff have the same goal they’ve had since 1998 – “ to offer you the largest selection of top quality performance and ranch-type horses.” I was able to have a quick chat with Rick Machado before he ran out to vaccinate and freeze brand his own weanling ranch horse herd, about what makes the “Main Event” such a great sale.
- The 2018 Main Event will be held November 2-3. Here’s our story about it, Come Hear the Chant.
Horses at The Main Event are Invitation Only
The sale works on an Invitation Only basis, which means every horse in the sale is essentially hand-picked and approved by Rick Machado himself. Since Rick travels a lot due to his auctioneering, consulting, cattle and horse operations, and brokerage services he’s able to go out and see the horses, cowboys and cowgirls in a working environment. From there, conversations usually turn to the horses- what they’ve done and what the plans are for them. It takes a lot of training and exposure to make a good ranch horse and once they are solid citizens they are usually a very desirable asset to any ranch. Most ranches are consistently turning over “finished” horses to bring up new youngsters to the same ranks as a desirable working companion. By the same hand, as a western performance horse ages, or “ages out” of certain competitions, they may make a great ranch horse once their show career has slowed down. Many trainers and owners choose to take those horses out on ranches or teach them to rope so they end up having a ton of training and exposure. Rick states, “Those are almost my favorite types of ranch horses, one’s that started out as performance horses, just because of the amount of training and exposure in them.” From these conversations, Rick is able to personally invite the horses that appear in his sale. Since the sale has been running since 1998, the legacy speaks for itself and lends itself to choosing the top horses.
“Consigners that have had horses in the sale previously are given first priority to enter.” says Rick. “From there, it’s open to everybody based on conversations we will have.” Previous consigners have already been “vetted” by Rick and chances are he already knows their horse. New consigners are always welcome and are often attracted to the sale due to its reputation. While the Main Event is a California based sale and is heavily populated by Californian’s, consigners and buyers come from all over.
What Can a Buyer Expect?
“A buyer can expect to buy exactly what he see’s in the Preview”. Since Rick talks to each individual consigner, he knows the horses he is putting in his sale are quality. “If a consigner tells me a horse can rope both ends, it is a requirement that they show that in the preview. Whatever they write down for the sale catalog needs to be correct.” That being said, if a horse has not roped out of the box before but is seasoned in roping and doctoring outside, the consigner has a choice to rope out of the box or not in the preview. Knowing the sale itself, most consigners choose to tune their horses up in the box just to show the versatility of their horse or exhibit some form of roping in the Preview. Rick realizes that a lot of people are afraid to come to sales due to the old adage of “Buyer beware” which is why he is so diligent about choosing the horses that participate in his sale and states that he has not had any soundness issues with a sale horse for the last 9 years! The sale catalog is currently available online and is always available well ahead of the sale itself, giving buyers a chance to highlight their favorites.
Central Coast Ranch Culture
It seems the sale reflects the ranching culture of the Central Coast and is a statement Rick agreed with me on. You’ve got your talented ranch horses, performance horses, and those horse’s that exist in both worlds and can do a little of everything. That’s what you see on the Central Coast, and it’s typically what you see every year at the Rick Machado Main Event. So come November 8th, hopefully you’ll stop by the Paso Robles Event Center to see the sale. Even if you’re not there as a buyer or consigner, take part in the Central Coast ranching culture, listen to music and dance at the conclusion of the sale. I promise it will be a fun time!