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Horse Gov. Noem Rode At Rodeo Finals Sells For 80k

Lee Strubinger SDPB
Screenshot from video of opening ceremony at the 2020 NFR

It’s December 4, 2020, and the grand opening of the National Rodeo Finals in Arlington, Texas. Governor Kristi Noem rides a tan Palomino Gelding named Magic out to the center of the arena—a US flag in her right hand. That horse has sold for $80,000.

A buyer in Utah bought the Palomino Gelding from the Diamond McNabb Ranch Horse Sale in Douglas, Wyoming, on June 5, for $80-thousand dollars. The Texas couple that bred the horse says they’re “tickled pink” about sale.

“That’s a lot of money," says Jane Bagley of Dimmitt, Texas. Jane and her husband Scott own Bagley Performances Horses. 

Jane says they didn’t sell the horse, but, "we’re thrilled that something with our brand has sold for that much money. A horse that’s gentle like that—and of course he got the color and really pretty and the long mane and tail—it seems like that market has gone up now anywhere from minimum of $12,000 on up to the sky’s the limit, depending on who likes him the best.”

The Bagley’s donated Magic to the Young Horse Development Program through the American Quarter Horse Association.

Trevor Klein got Magic as a colt through that program in 2016. He sold the horse in August, a few months before Governor Noem rode him at the finals. He says he’s not surprised Magic fetched that kind of money.

“He was pretty special and had a lot of personality,” Kline says. 

Klein says Magic was one of his favorite horses.

“Whenever he got 2 to 3 years old I started training him,” Klein says. “He was cool. He was a good horse. You could do anything on him. If you wanted to go sort anything out of the herd you could go sort anything out of the herd. If you wanted to go rope something you could. I really didn’t want to sell him whenever I sold him, but I had too many horses. He was the one that was going to bring the most money in.”

Breeder Jane Bagley says some geldings can bring in thousands more than what Magic sold for, but she suspects Noem may have helped it go for as much as it did. 

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.