Colorado's newest livestock market opens for business

October 15, 2023

LEWIS, CO.— Zane O’Dell’s family has been in the cattle business in the Four Corners area for generations. A few years ago, he purchased a piece of ground that was once owned by his great-grandfather. On that land, he has built a new auction market, Yellow Jacket Livestock Auction. The facility, he said, located near Lewis, Colo., is modernized and computerized and located on property with family history. The gavel dropped to sell the first stock through the facility on Friday, Oct. 13.

He sold his cow-calf operation a few years ago and he and his son, Bronco, took their knowledge about livestock and about sale barn design and began constructing the facility. It was, he said, an example of a family’s time in one segment of the cattle industry funding their future in another. He said he invested in the business so his children can eventually raise their children in the business. Truly a family operation, he is working alongside his son, Bronco, and his wife, Kayla, his daughter, Cayley, and his longtime partner, Bjarne.

O’Dell said he hired a builder to build the actual building, but the construction of the pens and the finishing work has been a family affair with a handful of employees.

“Sixty years ago, when some of the barns were built, the focus wasn’t as focused on the livestock handling, it was just different then,” he said. “We have 100 pipe pens, 60 with automatic waterers and 40 with feed bunks. The livestock comes first and if we take care of the livestock, we take care of the buyer and the seller.”


O’Dell has spent a lifetime making a living in sale barns across the Western U.S. and has tried to avoid the design mistakes in other facilities, and still incorporate all of the best features in his design. Seven rows of yellow stadium seats reach up toward the roof, overlooking the ring, a design that leaves not a bad seat in the house.

With the first sale at the end of the week, he said he doesn’t have an overwhelming number of consignments, but the ones he has are high-quality cattle from quality producers. He said unlike acquiring an existing barn, the crew at the inaugural sale will have much to learn and improve upon, but he’s optimistic that his sights will be set high for future sales.

The barn will host a weekly sale on Fridays at 1 p.m. There is a café, though a permanent restaurant tenant is not yet in place. However, during the opening sale day, Farm Bureau Insurance agent Brianna Yeomans-Allison will host a complementary lunch from 11-1.

“We’re here to serve the Four Corners area,” he said. “We keep our nose to the ground and work. We’re just going to do what we do and do it well.”

Yellow Jacket is the first new salebarn in the state in 16 years.

Source: The Fence Post Magazine