Chincoteague Pony Auction Includes Two Record-Breaking Pony Prices

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Saltwater Cowboys bring out a foal to be auctioned during the Pony Auction Thursday, July 28, 2022, on Chincoteague. Photo by Carol Vaughn.

By Carol Vaughn — The Chincoteague Pony Auction Thursday, July 28, raised $450,200 for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.

The auction included not one but two record-breaking prices, both for buyback ponies.
Buybacks are ponies that are purchased at auction but sent back to live out their lives on Assateague to help replenish the herd. The purchasers get to name the pony, receive official registration papers, and have their photograph made with the pony at the auction.

One buyback, a bay pinto filly, brought $30,000 this year, breaking the old record of $28,250 set in 2020 in an online only auction.

A second record was set later in the day, when the Chincoteague Legacy Group purchased a buyback, a black pinto filly, for $32,000.

A total of 65 ponies were sold, including 10 buybacks. Prices for buybacks ranged from $10,000 to $32,000.

Auctioneer Tim Jennings announced at the auction’s end the average price was $7,228.
New this year was simultaneous online bidding, along with the traditional in-person bidding.

Online-only auctions were conducted the past two years due to COVIE-19 pandemic restrictions on gatherings.

A few online bidders won their ponies this year, but the majority of winning bids came from people attending the live auction at the carnival grounds on Chincoteague.

The new format went smoothly for the most part.

Still, one foal, number 57, had to be re-auctioned after the winning online bidder was unable to complete the purchase.

(See the article written for the Post by Annette and Steve Hall, of Tennessee, who ultimately purchased foal number 57, https://www.easternshorepost.com/2022/08/04/chincoteague-pony-auction-re-sale-gets-tennessee-family-their-secret-pony/)

Foal 6, a bay pinto colt, was sold for $5,750 and went to Feather Fund recipient Lily Beebe, of Indiana.

The nonprofit Feather Fund continues work begun by Carollynn Suplee, assisting deserving children with the purchase of Chincoteague ponies.

The organization also helped another child purchase a foal at the auction.

Two sisters held the record for the highest price ever paid, but only for a few minutes, until the Legacy Group broke the record with their $32,000 bid on another foal.

Betsy Anderson, of West Virginia, and Cristy Zimmerman, of Pennsylvania, purchased foal 26, a buyback bay pinto filly, for $30,000 as a tribute to their parents.

It was the first Chincoteague pony either had purchased.

Growing up, coming to Pony Penning was a family tradition.

“We always tried for King or Queen Neptune; we never got one,” said Anderson.

Their father, who is terminally ill, told them he had some money put away and he wanted the sisters to finally get their Chincoteague pony.

Their mother died a few months ago and part of their inheritance also went toward the purchase, as well as additional donated funds.

“He told us to name it something A to Z, Anderson and Zimmerman,” Zimmerman said of her father.

The foal’s call name (the informal name by which it is known) will be Jazzie.

Loree Solé and friends purchased a buyback buckskin filly for $10,250 in honor of all cancer warriors. The foal will be named Angelique’s Tigress Warrior in memory of Solé’s daughter.

A special item featured in the 2022 auction was a saddle that belonged to Maureen Beebe Hursh, of “Misty of Chincoteague” fame.

Hursh died in 2019 at age 81.

Her daughters, Reenie Rae Hursh and Zebie Zay Hursh, donated the Steuben saddle, with all proceeds going to the Maureen Beebe Hursh Scholarship Fund at Chincoteague High School.

Members of the Chincoteague Pony Drill Team cleaned the saddle until it shone like new.

Charles Jefferson (CJ) Sires, of Seattle, Washington, purchased the saddle for $7,400.

Sires, 40, rode “a little bit” as a youth but said he spent “dozens of weekends in the Kittitas/Ellensburg, Washington area as a farm had for a family friend, mostly bucking hay and feeding stock.”

It was Sires’ first time attending Pony Penning.

“I did not plan, or expect, to bid on that item,” he said, adding he had had some interest in bidding on a buyback pony if price allowed.

Sires said it is on his bucket list to learn to ride competently and explore rodeo activities, such as roping.

“I discovered Chincoteague Island two months ago, after researching for Amy (she was my Pony Swim companion) a beach on the east coast suitable to take her kids to an ocean beach. They live in Kentucky and have never physically been at an ocean beach. I used Google Maps…I see near Virginia Beach this ‘mystical’ area called Chincoteague…and Maps listed the Pony Swim event top and center. I fell in love immediately, and planned accordingly,” he said.

Sires plans to return to Chincoteague for the 2023 Pony Penning.

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