agreed here... and I'd perhaps be willing to sell/trade mine as I just never pull out the 8wt anymore. I have a 6 and 7 by Gary Anderson as well. Most soulful rods I've touched. PM me if you are at all interested and we can chat about it. I have a hardy to match it as well.$500 can buy you a lot of rod on the lightly used market. You wouldn't have to exceed your limit to get a very well made rod.
My most recent 8 weight is a used Anderson 13'3", and it was within your budget. For me, it is an absolutely fantastic rod - I couldn't be happier.