DATE OF EVENT: Monday, Oct. 23, 1899
DATE PUBLISHED: Tuesday, Oct. 24, 1899, in The Kansas City Star
Editor’s note: Like many Kansas City traditions, the American Royal grew from smaller origins. It began as an auction in a tent at the stockyards of Hereford cattle, called the “royal” breed. About 55,000 spectators from 30 states came to witness the sale, at which 300 head were sold at an average price of $334. The horse show would be added in 1907, the rodeo in 1976.
Miss McKinley, a teacher in the Humboldt school, and twenty-five of her pupils were among the interested visitors at the sale of Hereford cattle which began at the stock yards this morning. The children were from one of the higher grades of the ward school, and their teacher had taken advantage of this chance to let them see the sale and also the stock yards. Each child will write a composition on what he saw at this show and sale.
The little folks took more lively interest in the sale than even the experts in Hereford cattle like K. B. Armour, F. A. Nave, John Sparks and C. A. Stannard, who sold cattle or bought. Everything interested the children, and the boys climbed to places where they could see everything in genuine boy fashion, while the girls made friends with the calves that stood in waiting for their turns to be sold, but they kept away from the horns of the older cattle.
Hereford that are petted and kept for show are as tame as kittens, and the grown cattle have little idea of how to use their polished horns. The big white faces attracted the women and children. There were many women on the seats surrounding the ring where the cattle are sold.
Everybody went to see Armour Rose before the sale. She will be sold to-morrow at 10 o’clock and a great many women are expected to be present. The men will be there, for the bidders are all getting ready to “nibble,” which means in a cattle sale about same as in a fishing excursion.
The sale started well, very well considering it is the first day of a sale that will last the whole week through. Beau Laurel, 80,095, the first of the Armour cattle offered, was sold to T. F. B. Sotham of Chillicothe for $350. Beau Laurel is a yearling. His mother sold for $1,000 …
On account of the very large number of cattle entered for the sale only three minutes is given for each sale. It makes fast bidding and the man who takes time to think over just what he can afford to pay often waits too long. It will make the aggregate receipts less than if the auctioneers took more time for each sale.
The Texans were a little slow in starting to bid, but they are heavy buyers and there are plenty of them here.
The show, which began yesterday afternoon, was resumed at 1:30 o’clock this afternoon …
Getting cattle ready for the show ring is an interesting proceeding. The poor white faces have to be scrubbed thoroughly and some of them seem to feel about it much the same as a bad boy does of the scrubbing that precedes his starting to school in the morning. Sometimes a dignified bull walks up with a lazy saunter and stands perfectly still while one man pours water on him through a garden hose without the nozzle and another digs the dirt out of his ears with a scrubbing brush. …