Eyewitness Report: BLM Adoption Event in Mercedes, Texas

By Nenah DeMunster, AWHC Field Representative Volunteer

(Jan 30, 2023) On January 27-28th a satellite adoption event was held at the Rio Grande Valley livestock showgrounds in Mercedes, TX with a selection of 14 burros and around 80 horses. They traveled from Pauls Valley, OK and arrived the day before the event started.

On the first day of the event the gates opened at 10 am and adoption started at noon until 6 pm. When I arrived at the showgrounds I saw a few trailers parked and mostly single cars. It was a cold and rainy day but that didn’t keep people from coming out.


The majority of the people seemed to be families with children just coming to look at the horses. Kids were running around, and I noticed one kid stomping their feet to scare the horses. It was very aggravating to watch, to say the least.

Most horses were scared and walked around in circles trying to get away from people. Others were standing quietly, munching on some hay, and were curious enough to say hi to me. They seemed to be in good body condition other than some having diarrhea. I noticed one horse with a very gnarly wound he had probably obtained from kicking.


At noon the adoption started and after a short briefing, we went around every single pen. The burros had significantly more interest and all 14 were immediately adopted by several people. I assume mostly ranchers. The pintos had a little bit of a bidding war going on but nothing excessive. Only 11 horses were adopted at this time.


The loading that I witnessed went fairly smoothly with experienced staff. I didn’t see any crowded trailers and the most I saw being loaded was 4 animals at a time. Around 3 pm things started to slow down.

The next day the adoption event began at 8 am. the morning definitely started slower than yesterday but around 9 am more people started showing up. However, only 3 more horses got adopted that morning that I know of before I had to leave again at 11. The event ended at noon and the remaining horses would return to Pauls Valley, OK.

The horses and burros were from the following HMA’s:

  • Delaware Mountains, NV
  • Goshute, NV
  • Spruce-Pequop, NV
  • Jakes Wah, NV
  • Pancake, NV
  • Eagle, NV
  • Antelope, NV
  • Diamond, NV
  • Silver King, NV
  • Fish Creek, NV
  • Skinkingwater, OR
  • Palomino Buttes, OR
  • Divide Basin, WY
  • Fifteen Mile, WY
  • Range, Creek UT
  • Choke Cherry, UT
  • Challis, ID