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Today’s Tom Powers “Happy Hour” Sale Horse Presentation Hopes to Connect Buyers and Sellers in a Unique, New Way

Filed under: The Buzz |     

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By Brittany Bevis

Today, in Berrien Springs, Michigan at approximately 4:00 pm, a brand new event will take place at the 2013 Tom Powers Futurity. This “Happy Hour” Sale Horse Presentation involves a format that show founder, Tom Powers, hopes will connect buyers and sellers in a unique, new way.

“Today, at about 4 pm, we will close the show pen and drag it, and we’re going to invite everyone that has a 2-year-old for sale to come in and ride it around,” Powers says. “We’re going to have refreshments in the center so people can walk in and feel comfortable. We’re going to create a market where people really know that these two-year-olds are for sale.”

“Quite often, at these big shows, I might see a two-year-old going around over there. I’ll ask [the rider] if it’s for sale. She might say no, and if I’m a buyer, particularly a non-pro, first time buyer, I will kind of feel bad that I even asked. But today at 4 o’clock, when these horses are in the arena going around, I will know that the first set is all two-year-olds, and they’re all for sale. It doesn’t matter for how much. It just makes a statement that they brought these horses for sale.”

Each participant in the Happy Hour Sale Horse Presentation will be charged a nominal $20 fee, which will go to benefit the NSBA Crisis Fund. After the first 45 minute session of two-year-olds has a chance to ride, another 45 minute session will take place where older horses will be allowed to exhibit.

“Normally, it’s a little difficult to juggle the buyers from the sellers, because people don’t know who’s who,” he says. “But, [in this case] the people standing in the middle of the ring will be buyers, and the people riding around will be sellers.”

“It’s a way to market these horses in an informal atmosphere without putting a For Sale sign on their butts. Now, we’ve established a contact point for a buyer who is no longer embarrassed to ask whether a horse is for sale.”

Powers credits this unique idea for the Happy Hour Presentation to his wife, Dominique Ruel-Powers. If this first event proves to be popular, Powers says there is a possibility of turning the Happy Hour Presentation into a Claiming Sale for 2014 or running it in the same format without any changes.

“Next year, we might turn it into a Claiming Sale, but maybe not,” he says. “If nobody likes it, we won’t run it again. You get 10 bad ideas before you get one good one.”

“Trainers really know what other trainers have. The non-pros and amateurs now might be able to go in the pen and find one themselves, when before they wouldn’t dare go ask [trainers like] Rusty Green or Katy Jo, because they’d be afraid.”

On Saturday, the Tom Powers Yearling Stakes Sale will take place directly following the Maiden 2-Year-Old Sale Stakes class. This class will pay $50,000 with $37,000 going to the Open division and $13,000 to the Limited. The timing of having this sale directly after the corresponding class is certainly no accident.

“People are kind of pumped, because they just saw someone win,” he says. “Last year, Kenny Lakins won $20,000, and he was really tickled. We went and sold horses afterwards, and they sold really well.”

There are currently 65 yearlings in the sale this year. Each horse will be microchipped before entry into the sale as a precautionary measure to ensure that the same horses that sell in the sale in 2013 will be the same horses that return for the Sale Stakes class the following year as two-year-olds.

“With microchipping, people get the feeling that it’s an honest event, which is what we want,” he says. “It costs $20 before you can get into the sale.”

Stay tuned for much more coming from the 2013 Tom Powers Futurity.

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