4/4/2014 10:11:00 AM Simons celebrate 50th anniversary horse sale
Buyers from all across North America helped Jim Simon and family celebrate their 50th anniversary in the horse business this past weekend. Sales were held Saturday and Sunday at the Simon Arena, three miles northwest of Cannon Falls on Harry Avenue, just off of Hwy. 52 in Randolph Township.
Jim Simon's father, Roy, ran grade horse sales in Rosemount, MN when Jim was growing up. On April 4, 1964, they had their first registered horse sale, held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Mainly Appaloosas, they had about 300 head.
Jim bought horses locally and out west to ship to New York when he was still a young man. Eventually some of the horse buyers came west to Simon sales, then held in Apple Valley. Jim says some of those same buyers still come to the current sales in the Cannon Falls-Randolph location. "We take pride in the long standing relationships with these families," said Jim.
The Simons moved to Cannon Falls in 1977 and opened the new, bigger facility the next year. The facility includes a sale ring with bleachers, a 100 by 225 foot riding area, 500 individual box stalls, and parking for trailers and buyers/sellers. A small concessions area, cleaning areas and office areas are also part of the facility.
Twin Cities Horse Sales, a division of the he Simon Horse Company (Jim Simon and son Ryon, owners/managers) hold registered Appaloosa, Paint and Quarter horse sales in the Spring and Fall. They also hold a monthly all-breed sale. In addition to sales, the arena hosts a number of horse shows throughout the year, the high school rodeo, clinic and tack sales.
Over the years, the Twin Cities Horse Sales have sent horses to every state and many countries, including Canada, Mexico, Italy, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Venezuela, Mongolia, and Japan. They have sold over 200,000 horses. Jim says many friendships have been made over the years and is thankful for that part of the business. Stop at Wiederholt's Supper Club in Miesville or the Saratoga Motel in Cannon Falls on a weekend night of a big sale to get an idea of just some the economic activity the sales bring to the Cannon Falls area. Simon was involved in the initial group that built the motel.
Jim's wife, Bonnie, ran the office for many years. Wendy Carroll then ran it for 25 years and Jessi Sevareid has been there for 12 years. Jim says Bonnie has always supported him in the business. They will celebrate 55 years of marriage in July.
Their son, Ryon, became an active part of the horse sales business in 1996, joining their daughter and son-in-law, Teri and Mark Kusilek. Mark is now manager of Arena Trailer Sales, just north of the arena location. Teri clerked for many years. The Kusilek's three children, Katie, Kelly and Jami also helped in the office and have competed in riding events.
People buy reining, cutting, western pleasure, trail riding, barrel, halter or just general use horses at the sales in addition to breeding stock. A 2013 sale report showed a top 50 average price of $4,248.