A self-proclaimed lover of all things Galloway, Scot Adams, president of the New England Galloway Group, lives for the last Saturday in April.
“I have a huge passion for this. My life is in this order: God, my wife and cattle,” he said about the National Belted Galloway Sale. The auction event is taking place in Fryeburg, Maine on April 25.
The sale, which also includes a youth show, is a weekend-long auction that brings together belted Galloway breeders from all over the country. Adams noted that 40 consignments from South Carolina to California will take part in the auction live in person or via the Internet.
“Some of these cattle go for about $2,000 to $8,000. It’s quite a sale. You have to put it on your bucket list,” Adams said. “We may not get the sale from the guy in the chair here [in Maine], but someone else is generating more money in the sale by being a participant online.”
Formed in 1995, the New England Galloway Group provides support and education for belted Galloway and Galloway breeders in the region. The organization heads up the annual sale, which is the longest running of its kind in North America.
Participants in the auction promote their consignments by highlighting the animal’s special genetic background, show accomplishments, strength of conformation and other unique qualities in order to stand apart from the others. During the actual auction, the tagged cattle enter the sale ring after a viewing from the state-licensed veterinarian, then are auctioned off to the highest bidder.
“It’s something for everybody. Years before, we had 40 lots [of cattle] and they all sold,” Adams proclaimed. “You’re putting your name to a cattle. What you put in is what you get back. You just have to put your best foot forward. Plus, $5,000 for a cattle is a good chunk of change.”
In addition to cattle, the auction also includes bull semen and embryo lots. Known as “Belties” and for their “fat Oreo cookie” look, the Galloway stands apart from its Angus or Hereford counterpart. According to the U.S. Belted Galloway Society, weights for mature Belted Galloways in North America vary in accordance with their environment. On average, the mature Belted Galloway bull at age 5 weighs within the 1,800-pound to 2,000-pound range.
“It’s a strong breed. The Belted Galloway breed is the leanest beef you can eat,” Adams explained. “It’s good for you. They have two thick layers of fur. They don’t have any back fat and they’re very hearty. Hanging around in minus 20-degree temperatures is nothing for them.”
In his sixth year as president of the New England Galloway Group, Adams has seen the sale grow throughout the years. He also sees the event as a way to raise awareness about the Galloway breed to the youth.
“(The Fryeburg Youth Show) is geared toward kids,” said Adams who is also the youth director for the U.S. Belted Galloway Society. “We have showmanship and a cook-off competition. We also have speech and picture-taking classes where the kids learn to take pictures of animals and show off the cattle in a proper way.”
Adams said he expects the auction sale revenue to reach six figures this year. With the help of his family and friends, he prepares for the sale as if it was a family reunion.
“The people make the breed. They make this whole thing work. We have a work weekend before the show and 30-40 people show up. We have a big barbecue…” he said. “It is a family affair. We don’t care who wins or loses. We all want everyone to do well. We love each other. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Cover Photo by JohnFScott/istockphoto.com