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Better Together | March 2024

By Cheryl Kepes

Photos courtesy I-29 Bull Run


Producers team up to create a production sale that has morphed into an annual South Dakota happening.



Ten years ago, a casual conversation between cattle producers at the South Dakota State Fair about ways to better market their cattle, turned into a long-running partnership. “Most of us partners at the time didn’t have enough cattle to host our own sales. It’s a big undertaking to take on an event like that. And so, we thought, ‘Why not do it together?’” Phil Eggers with Eggers Southview Farms recalled. So, they did.


Together the breeders created a successful production sale comprised of genetics from all their herds. The original families formed an entity called I-29 Bull Run, giving them the ability to act as a formal marketing company. The South Dakota breeders involved with the I-29 Bull Run sale live (as one might guess) along the I-29 Interstate corridor.


The sale has grown and evolved since its beginnings. The I-29 Bull Run sale, held the second Saturday in March, offers elite Hereford, Angus, and Simmental bulls, as well as registered and commercial females. The partners include Section 16 Cattle Company, Mark Family Simmental, Eggers Southview Farms, and TSR Cattle Company.



Sharing Responsibility

Coordinating a large sale with a lot of cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, might be problematic for some folks, but not for these families. The years of close collaboration and a unified goal makes all aspects of the sale run well.


One of the benefits to the collaboration is the value each producer adds from his or her own unique skill set in planning and executing the sale. “It is really nice because everyone has their own job in regard to the event. It is amazing how smooth is goes with a little bit of coordination within the group,” Phil explained.


The producers involved in the I-29 Bull Run sale hold full-time jobs off their cattle operations making excellent organization key. “We are all in production agriculture, but a majority of us have another business or something else going on in addition to that. So, our time is limited, and we just try to be as efficient as possible and I think that we are,” Phil said. “It is really important to keep communication open in a big group like this and everyone does a good job of that in regard to what they are doing.”



Offering Variety

The I-29 Bull Run sale prides itself in offering customers a variety of genetics. The sale includes multiple breeds, bulls of various ages, and registered and commercial females. In the beginning, the sale focused on Hereford bulls with a few Hereford heifers as well as some Angus bulls. Now, the sale includes far more Angus bulls and females, Simmentals, and occasionally Balancer bulls.


Another change from the early years of the sale is the range of ages of bulls offered. The breeders market yearlings, fall yearlings, and two-year-olds. The diversified selection plays to the needs of the sale’s customers. Some customers purchase animals from different breeds and bulls of varying ages. “It is amazing the number of people who buy multiple breeds and multiple ages,” Phil added.


The partners hope their sale lineup aligns with what their fellow cattlemen and women need for their operations. “We all have our core customers. But it is really nice that if we don’t have something to offer our contacts, there is something else there so everyone is always taken care of which is always the goal,” Phil said.



Involving Customers

In recent years, the I-29 Bull Run sale implemented a new feature – commercial females. I-29 Bull Run customers can now market their commercial females at the sale. The new sale offering stems from the sale organizers’ goal of helping their customers market their calves.

The sale partners know well the value of finding new and different avenues for marketing cattle and they want to pass that on to their customers. “We want to see everyone succeed. It is a small thing we can do to add a big impact,” Phil stated.


Making it an Event

From its inception, the sale partners set out to create a sale that feels like an exciting event. The I-29 Bull Run sale is held at the Sioux Falls fairgrounds in the evening on a Saturday. “I am glad my partners were forward thinking enough to offer a night sale and something fun,” Phil said. “It is not like your typical bull sale where it is get in and pick it and get back home and get to work. It feels more relaxed.”


The sale is moving into its tenth year and counting. As the next sale approaches the families involved reflect on where they have been and where they would like to go in the future. But most of all, their thoughts center on gratitude for their collaboration. “We are really fortunate that we can do this all together. And we all realize how lucky we are to have such a successful event,” Phil shared.



10th Anniversary Sale:

Saturday, March 9, 2024

6:00 pm CST - Sioux Falls, S.D.


learn more at www.i29bullrun.com

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