So how does a $1,000 gift card toward a Greeley Hat Works customized hat, turn into a $25,000 donation for Colorado State University?  It happened at last year's Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale.

The winning bid of $5,000 came from Terry Crofoot, a consigner. But what happened next was an exceptionally generous surprise in the name of a legend. Five more donors – Neal Hansen; Ingram Enterprises, Inc.; South Plains Livestock Management, LLC; Justin Holmberg; and Royal Vista Equine, LLC – came forward to add $20,000 more to the final bid, bringing a total of $25,000 to fund CSU’s George E. Phillips Memorial Scholarship.

The bidding started at $100 and worked its way up to $1,000. When it got up to $2,000, the crowd started buzzing. It then hit $3,000, then $4,000, and finally ended up selling for $5,000 to Terry Crofoot, who was a great friend of George. The sale brought the crowd to its feet and everyone was cheering. Then, surprisingly, other bidders who had stopped bidding on the hat started matching the winning bid. That single hat ended up raising an incredible amount of $25,000.

Hats created by Trent Johnson, owner of Greeley Hat Works, are themselves legendary. Johnson has fit hats for Miss Rodeo America and even former U.S. President George W. Bush, and celebrities like Toby Keith. So it wasn’t a surprise that one of his hats would go for more than $1,000. What was a surprise was the final price tag.

George E. Phillips Memorial Scholarship

Phillips was a long-time member of the CSU Equine Advisory Committee. He was the first vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association and a notable U.S. Attorney. The memorial scholarship in his name is awarded in a Colorado State University student majoring in Equine Sciences with a preference given to those with an interest in public policy and the Quarter Horse industry.

This Year's Sale

Johnson will again be donating a gift card for one of his exceptional, custom-made hats at this year’s Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale auction. The horse sale preview will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at the B.W. Pickett Arena on Overland Trail in Fort Collins. CSU’s Equine Sciences program also is proud to announce the second annual Legends of Ranching Futurity and Maturity Horse Show. This show will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, April 21, at the B.W. Pickett Arena.