It’s like Christmas morning.
That’s the level of excitement Lindsey Erickson said flows through her house on sale day.
“The night before, we’re all excited. The kids are usually ready to go at like five in the morning,” she said.
She joked that she can use the threat of sale day a little bit like other families threaten to write letters to Santa.
“My oldest son’s dog was being naughty, so we jokingly threatened we’d bring his dog and run her through the sale barn,” she said.
Erickson’s family raises black Angus on a ranch near Aladdin, Wyoming. The family of seven was in South Dakota selling their cattle at a Thursday sale in early October at Belle Fourche Livestock.
Normally, the school-aged Erickson kids would be attending homeschool lessons, but once or twice a year, they get to take a field trip to the sale barn.
“I just think it’s important to learn the process of everything. They love watching the cows sell and being a part of things,” she said.
For many ranch families, sale day is a family tradition.
“My sisters and I came here all the time. We actually sat in that same spot,” Erickson said.
Many families, such as the Moore family, have multiple generations present. Brenton Moore, his son J.W. and his grandson MCcrae enjoyed spending the day together watching the oldest Moore’s cattle sell.
Brenton Moore brought his cattle from his ranch near Story, Wyoming.
Like the Ericksons, the Moore kids’ excitement starts well before sale time. Brenton Moore said MCcrae’s older brother MCcoy was sad because he had to go to school instead of the sale barn. But MCcoy still got to help out.
“He came over to my house last night to help me gather and load them up to bring over here today,” Brenton Moore said.
Both the Moore and the Erickson family said they hope being a part of sale day and growing up on a ranch will help the next generation carry on the family business.
Erickson grew up on her grandpa’s ranch, where she and her husband now reside. Her grandfather passed away last year, but she and her husband live on the ranch along with her mom and dad.
Erickson said it’s getting tougher and tougher to make ends meet just by ranching.
“The ranch just supports my mom and dad now,” she said.
But sharing her ranching heritage with her children isn’t something she’s willing to give up, so they’re doing whatever it takes to stay on the ranch. The family chooses to live in a two-bedroom house on the ranch.
“We could move to town and be in a bigger house, but I’d rather be in a little tiny house and be outside with the cows,” she said.
Her husband is pursuing his commercial pilot’s license and will fly fire-fighting planes to help support the family.
Erickson said keeping her kids on the ranch is important because the lifestyle teaches vital life lessons.
“The kids learn hard lessons. Like when their favorite cow or calf dies, or their dog dies. It’s heartbreaking for them, but I think it’s good for them to learn that that’s just part of life,” she said.
For Moore, those lessons his children learn throughout the year come to a culmination on sale day.
“Sale day is kind of a big day,” J.W. Moore said, “because everything you worked for a whole year comes to this point. It teaches them business and the payoff for a hard year.”
When it comes to businesses, Erickson said she loves that ranching is so family oriented.
“Ranching is one of the only family run businesses left. Everything is so corporate now, kids don’t get to be a part of anything,” she said.
Parents like the lessons their kids learn at the sale barn, but the kids really enjoy themselves as well.
Christine Erickson beams when asked what she likes about coming to sale day.
“I like to watch the cows, she said.”
The concession stand is always a popular sale barn attraction, too. Erickson said the last year at the sale barn, there was free pie.
“Now every time see we drive by they’re like ‘Can we stop and get some free pie?’”
Melisa Goss, Associate Editor for the Tri-State Neighbor, is a South Dakota farm girl whose love of travel has allowed her to see ag’s vital impact around the world, from America’s heartland to the rice paddies of Southeast Asia and many places in between. She makes her home in Sioux Falls with her husband, daughter and miniature schnauzer. You can reach her at email@example.com.