Albert Kilber’s Swan Song to his Retirement
Albert Kilber, has been in the horse business for 36 years, from 1984-2020. His Granddaughter, Natasha HeckerIn, shared stories of his attentive hard-working nature in the industry and time that they spent together on the farm.
“In 1984, he bought out Nick Kautzman’s 12 Belgians. He was told that they were all 2-year olds, though his neighbors swore they were all 4. In 1985, he started to buy Percherons, the first of which came out of South Dakota,” she said. “I remember fondly the times I spent out at the farm during the summer, watching him break the horses. He would oftentimes tie them behind the tractor so they had to learn to follow directions.”
In all, he bought over 200 horses from Montgomery, IN, and Waverly, IA.
“He started to travel to Indiana to make his purchases from the Amish. He bought from the Amish until 2010 when they switched to raising Belgians for horse pulling contests. He did this because the ranchers who bought his teams preferred Percherons because they travel faster with a load.” Hecker said.“Once he got 8 weanlings out of Canada, Percheron’s all, and another 15 came out of Mohall. Another time he bought 15 horses from a gentleman named Ron Nester. Three of these went on to South Dakota, two to Montana, two to Iowa, two to Utah, two to Oregon, one to Colorado, and one to Wyoming,” Hecker said. “One time he sold out all his teams throughout the western US, and had to tell a potential buyer that all he had left were four sets of harnesses to sell!”
During this time, he also had dairy cattle, and he needed a name for his dairy, and he came up with Powerpoint.
“Powerpoint came about because at the time he was surrounded by four power-generating sources; Basin Electric, Garrison Dam, Coyote Station, and Dakota Gasification. Their farm was right at the center, thus Powerpoint Percherons was born.” She said. “He had a wonderful dog, a Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix named Scooter, who would travel side to side to keep the horses in line when they tried to pull back from the tractor. At times, he would hitch the green ones four abreast and drive them so they would learn. Sometimes he would tie two young ones behind the wagon when we went for wagon rides, and we would grab grass off the roadside and feed them as we went. There was often a turnover of horses, but we didn’t mind, we loved them all and learned their names.”
Hecker recalled the mass amount of influence her grandfather has had on others but also on herself.
“One very memorable occasion, my grandfather and I were calling the horses in from the pasture, and grandpa called out to them in this strange high-pitched voice, ‘Come, come, come, come!’ he called, and I had asked him why he called like that. He had replied, ‘I’m pretending to be Grandmother so they come quicker!’ It still makes me laugh,” she said. “These times with him are still my favorite memories, we’ve hunted down escaped horses, harnessed and hitched them together, and every summer drove them out to Pick City, and had ice cream at the Crab Apple. It is with great sadness that we announce his retirement from the horse selling business, but it is with great pride that we were able to share this legacy, and this wonderful man’s passion with everyone.”