Annual Chincoteague ‘Pony Auction’ plays key role in maintaining herd populations
CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. – Going once, going twice, sold! Hundreds of people made their way early Thursday morning to the Chincoteague Fair grounds with their wallets in hand to spend some big bucks at the 94th annual pony auction.
“You can see the crowd, the faces, the little kids I mean it’s just something near and dear to our hearts here,” said Chincoteage Volunteer Fire Company Public Information Officer, Denise Bowden.
For some, the auction is simply a cherished tradition that keeps families coming back each and every year. But for others, it’s an opportunity to finally call one of these Assateague ponies their very own.
“We come here every year, and buy a pony every year and the last few years I really wanted a black one. This year I fell in love with that little boy he’s black and has a white star on his head and I just fell in love with him,” said one bidder Jaylee Jordan.
Officials tell 47 ABC that the auction plays a key role in controlling the herd’s population. Ensuring that the amount of ponies on Assateague Island doesn’t get out of hand.
“If we did not do this auction and left them over there to just populate and populate and get bigger and bigger they would eat themselves out of house and home it wouldn’t be good for the refuge it wouldn’t be good for the ponies and it wouldn’t be good for the economy,” said Bowden.
For others who couldn’t take these babies home, a select few ponies, known as buybacks, were also available to bidders to adopt. Once their sold, they’ll go back to Assateauge Island where they’ll live for the rest of their lives never to be auctioned off again.
“It’s an awesome feeling to like be able to come back and then see what babies she’s had what her she’s in and see what She’s doing from year to year,” said another bidder Claire Stiehm.
As for the rest of the herd, they’ll swim back to Assateague Island on Friday which will officially mark the end of another successful pony swim.
Officials say that 100% of the proceeds made from Thursday’s auction go directly to the Chincoteage Volunteer Fire Company who will use the money to continue to take care of the ponies, and maintain their fire department.