A rope horse that sold for an eye-popping figure and another horse yet to be named will be making an appearance with their riders on the hit series Yellowstone.
The appearances sold last week as part of the live auction at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where show co-creator Taylor Sheridan was among those enshrined in the Hall. Headquartered in Fort Worth, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame honors those who have shown excellence in competition, business and the support of rodeo and western lifestyle in Texas.
Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum Director Andrea Ruby said the appearances sold for $35,000 each during the event on March 4. The $70,000 from the appearances, as well as other live auction items, benefitted the Hall’s educational programming.
“We are immensely grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime donation Taylor offered our guests at this year’s induction ceremony. When guests attend our event, they are looking for unique experiences, and Taylor delivered one of the best ones we have ever gotten,” said Andrea Ruby, director of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. “The $35,000 bid was our largest bidding item of the night and were thrilled when it was offered to both bidders for a $70,000 total. We are thankful to the entire Sheridan team for such a generous and amazing opportunity.”
The winning bidders were amateur roper Bryan Beaver and the National Cutting Horse Association Foundation. One already knows which horse will be on screen. The second bidder hasn’t yet decided.
Winning Bidder: Bryan Beaver
Long involved in rodeo, Beaver – who has also dabbled in cutting horses thanks to the influence of avid cutters Tom Watson and Tom’s late wife, Hilary Watson – was at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame ceremony to honor his friend and 2021 inductee, the late Keith Maddox, of the American Hat Company.
He planned to donate to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame by writing a check in memory of Maddox, but then master of ceremonies Pam Minick told the crowd at the induction ceremony that Sheridan had generously donated an appearance in the show.
That grabbed Beaver’s attention. He was a fan of Yellowstone, Sheridan’s hit series on Paramount Network, and he also had the perfect horse in mind. He just didn’t own it — yet.
That horse was Smartys Dunny, a son of Colonels Smart Spook that 25-time rodeo world champion Trevor Brazile and agent Miles Baker had consigned to The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio in Wickenburg, Arizona.
Beaver had tried out Smartys Dunny, and planned to buy him. When the donated appearance on a Sheridan production was announced at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame ceremony, it was like everything just fell into place.
“Nobody else knew that but my wife,” said Beaver, who ended up paying a sale record $250,000 for the gelding out of Bea With A Twist (by Dun It With A Twist). “Because I didn’t want anybody to know that I was going to an auction and I was going to buy a horse, regardless of the price.”
In addition to Yellowstone, Sheridan has several other projects and spinoffs to the popular series — including the recently announced 6666.
Winning Bidder: The NCHA Foundation
The other winning bidder on one of the appearances, the NCHA Foundation, hasn’t yet decided who it will choose to appear on television, or if it will utilize the appearance in another way.
NCHA Foundation Executive Director Julia Buswold said the organization’ saw the donated appearance as a way to further its goal of promoting the sport of cutting.
“I think for us, it’s about perpetuating the sport and really getting – especially the sport of cutting – out to a wider audience,” she said. “I mean, that’s ultimately how we want to do our part to help grow the membership and grow awareness for the sport of cutting, so it just made a lot of sense for us.
“Whether we choose to auction it off again down the line or utilize it ourselves, has yet to be seen. But, we know that it’s just a really incredible opportunity with all of Taylor’s productions right now.”
One of the cutting horse industry’s leading stallions, Metallic Cat, is already slated to make an appearance on Yellowstone thanks to a similar donation Sheridan made back in 2019.
That’s when Metallic Cat‘s owner, Bobby Patton, purchased a donated appearance on the hit series during an NCHA Foundation fundraiser held during that year’s National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity. The slot sold for $165,000 with proceeds going to the NCHA Foundation.
Crews filmed the Equi-Stat Elite $40 Million Sire at last year’s National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity.
Several other well-known trainers and horses from the Western performance horse industry have appeared on Yellowstone throughout the show’s history.
* The appearances are on an episode of the show Yellowstone. An official with the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame originally said the appearances would be on an unnamed Taylor Sheridan production, but later specified which show. This story has been updated to reflect the change.