Trenton Meeks, 17, of Farwell, brushes 3-year-old quarter horse CD before taking the horse out for a ride Saturday during the Spring Horse Sale at the Clovis Livestock Auction. CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth.
By Jack King
Clovis Livestock Auction owner Danny Rogers estimated 1,000 horses would be sold this weekend in the business’ annual spring horse sale.
Several of these are exceptional horses from famous lines, with competition, race or show experience. This story is not about one of those.
While he comes from good stock, CD, a sorrel gelding, will never be a show stopper. Instead, he is a solid, good-natured cow horse from Weatherford, Texas.
But, of all horses sold this weekend, probably none will go for a more exceptional reason than CD, who was sold Saturday to save someone from drug addiction.
Clovis horse breeder Kip Defoor said he got CD through his friend Jamie Dosher, who called him one night from Weatherford.
“A ranch near there had been training him as a cutting horse when he came up with a sore foot. We figured he’d be fine with a little rest, but if a horse isn’t 100 percent they don’t keep him. Jamie called to ask if we could use him or knew of any kids who could use him,” Defoor said.
But, he admitted, he didn’t really have the right use for CD, until he thought of Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug treatment program with treatment centers all over the world, including one in Midland, Texas.
Outsiders may not think methamphetamines, marijuana and cocaine fit into the cowboy stereotype, but residents of Western towns know drugs have made as many inroads here as they have elsewhere in the country, said Josh Kitchens, who handles horses for the Good Times Arena in Muleshoe.
Kitchens, who recently finished a treatment session at Teen Challenge’s Midland center, said the program saved his life.
“I’d been doing drugs since the sixth or seventh grade. I was up to four packs of cigarettes and 10 grams of meth a day. Teen Challenge taught me how to live without that. It taught me how to live for the Lord,” Kitchens said.
Teen Challenge offers a 13-to-15-month program with an 87 percent no-return rate, compared to a 5-10 percent success rate for many other programs, said the Midland center’s executive director Rocky Pearson.
But, it costs Teen Challenge between $1,200 and $1,300 a person to provide the treatment, and the group only charges a $1,000 per-person fee. Furthermore, as a faith-based program, Teen Challenge can’t get federal, state or agency grants, Pearson said.
Teen Challenge gets its funding from church support, donations and selling products made by its clients, he said.
“It’s vital for us to have individuals who are willing to donate to help us,” he added.
Defoor said he knew about Teen Challenge through participating in the Cowboy Church established in the Good Times Arena, whose pastor is Steve Friskup, Clovis Livestock Auction’s horse sale manager.
“We didn’t have a lot invested in CD and I just thought it would be a good use for the money,” Defoor said.
Saturday afternoon, as rider Trenton Meeks put CD through his paces in the auction arena, the auctioneer told his story and where his sale money would go.
Denny Miller, who owns a cow and calf operation and a team roping clinic near Florence, Colo., was the top bidder at $1,300. That’s about an average bid for an average riding horse, according to Rogers.
Miller said he thought he could have gotten a horse for a little less, but he wanted to help out Teen Challenge.
“It’s a good program. We need more like it to help these people,” he said.
Defoor said he hopes to use the $1,300 as a kind of scholarship to send one person through the Teen Challenge program.
“Whatever we got was worth it,” he said.