Round-up for Rehab set to begin in Abilene
Moos echoed throughout the livestock pens as several cattle were unloaded from a semitrailer Monday afternoon to be sold during today's Round-Up for Rehab fundraiser benefiting the West Texas Rehabilitation Center.
Now in its 53rd year, Round-up for Rehab is a series of six auctions of donated livestock. Bidding starts at 1 p.m. at the first auction at Abilene Livestock Auction on North Judge Ely Boulevard, north of I-20.
Some of the cattle arrived Monday afternoon. Dan Huggins, director of donor relations for the rehab center, said more might come this morning.
An ongoing drought has reduced the number of cattle in the area — and, therefore, the number of cattle donated for the auction.
A lack of rain over the last two years means grass and hay have become scarce. Many ranchers have been culling and selling their herds because of the high cost of buying hay.
"Our numbers are down this year, but the cattle we have right now, the quality is there," said Randy Carson, Big Country co-chairman for the fundraiser. "It's an outstanding set of cattle."
Carson, who owns Abilene Auction, started helping with the Round-up when he was an employee at the sale barn in 1967. He and Mike Alexander have co-chaired the event for eight years.
"It's not one of (WTRC's) larger fundraiser deals, but it's the only deal Abilene Auction sponsors heavily," Carson said. "I've had a son that went through (the rehabilitation center) back in the 1970s, and now I have a grandson. They do tremendous work and I told a countless number of people to just go there and walk down the halls to see what they do."
Round-Up for Rehab, which was used to be known as the Cattlemen's Round-Up for Crippled Children, is the original fundraiser for the center, which now hosts a telethon and raises money in a variety of ways. (Last month, Ronnie Dunn performed at the annual dinner show.)
Ranchers and business participate in the auction by donating livestock, joining the bidding or donating cash. There are times that an animal is purchased by an individual or an organization with an agreement that the meat be donated to another nonprofit organization.
Carson said a calf may bring in up to $600, depending on its weight. A fully-grown animal may have a value of about $1,350.
"We enjoy the support from the same folks year in and year out," said Woody Gilliland, president and CEO of West Texas Rehabilitation Center. "We also see a lot of these donors bring their sons and daughters into the fold and they become donors, as well. And we certainly reach out to try to expand to new donors."
There will be a chuck wagon lunch before the auction begins today.
"It's all about relationships," Gilliland said. "It's neighbors helping neighbors."
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