Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Auction Itch

You can travel all over the United States this season and find a cattle auction going on or approaching. Many beef cows, heifers, and bulls are sold this time of year, whether in the commercial, purebred or show cattle industry. 

Two weeks ago, our family of four traveled to the Kansas flinthills for our family’s production sale, then we went to the beautiful sandhills of Nebraska to another sale where we had beef embryos selling. Over five days, we logged 2,227 miles. That’s a lot of time in a car seat, just ask the kids. 

I love attending these livestock auctions. The atmosphere of the sale, the auctioneer’s rhythmic chant, and “HA! HA!” of the ring men who call the bids – it is truly an exciting event. It is amazing what some stock will bring, what genetics are sold for and how people select what they’d like to take back home to their operations. 

But I’ll tell you, there is something about a live auction that makes me itch. Seriously. 

When at a live auction, you should sit very still so the ring man or auctioneer doesn’t think you’re bidding on the lot. 
Do not nod. 
Do not wink. 
Do not move your arms. 

Not me. 

Put me at an auction and I itch, twitch, and simply do not have the ability to sit still. At the sale in Nebraska, I got something in my eye during the heat of the sale, and could not quit raising my arms to get whatever it was, out. Naturally, I kept blinking, winking moving my head back and forth to find comfort. My husband wasn’t terribly impressed that I almost bought a Hereford bull for more money than we have in our farm bank account. After a bit of confusion, I excused myself to the food line for the remainder of the event. 

A month ago, we went to an estate auction and I watched as they sold the 1989 Crown Victoria. It was at that moment that I saw an old neighbor and couldn’t help but wave. This was a bad, bad idea. Next thing I know, I’m “in” at $2,500 and the auctioneer asks if I want to take the bid to $3,000. I nodded “no” then again excused myself to the dessert line. 

Do you notice a trend?

On Friday night we went to an Angus sale outside West Lafayette. There I was, minding my own business and visiting with a cattle friend when I hear the auctioneer say in the middle of his chant, “Lindsay! You’re OUT!” I looked up to the auction block, and he was, in fact, looking straight at me. I wanted to respond with, “Frankly, I had no idea I was even in,” but I only nodded “no” and walked outside to get some fresh air. I think I use my hands too much when I talk. 

My husband attends these cattle sales for a living, in search of the next great beef bull. He’s taken me to three live auctions over the last two weeks, and I am fairly certain he’ll never again invite me to job shadow him. I’m just a risk that he (we) can’t afford. 

But if you do drive by our farm and see a Hereford bull, 1989 Crown Victoria or something else that just doesn’t fit in, please understand that it is probably a (/an expensive) result of me getting an untimely itch at an auction. 

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