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How to Go One-Up on an Auction Buff

High-tech cattle auction leaves my jaw dropping

When I walked into the barn at Martin Livestock near Bargersville the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I expected to see lots of people, and I did. I expected to see trailers as I drove up before that, and I did. I also expected to get a catalog of nice pictures, and I did. The only thing I didn't see that I expected to see in the sale ring were cattle – no live ones anyway!

They weren't in the barn at least, they were outside in the lots. Inside the barn were video screens. As the auctioneer prepared to auction off each one, I could look at her picture and data in the glossy catalog in my hand, and then watch her walk across the screen on what must have been a gorgeous fall day when the videos were taken. As it turns out, I could actually have gone to YouTube and viewed the videos online as well.

I thought I had seen it all. Auctions are in my blood. My secret 'Walter Mitty' dream is to be an auctioneer, if only for a few minutes. It's on my bucket list, but buried pretty far down in terms of ever happening. I would settle for clerking a sale, even a small one. I did get close, though. I auctioned a couple of church or group charity fundraisers a few years ago. Some people thought I had the chant and should do it, but it remains just a dream.

I've been to farm sales, furniture sales in barns, livestock sales in smoke-filled auction barns with 40-year old cobwebs. I've been to auctions where they sold a house piece by piece. I did have the pieces to prove it – I bought a few – but they didn't survive our last move. And I've attended countless live farm toy and literature auctions. One was held in a tent in November and it was so cold I was sure I would be the only bidder left. No dice, it didn't work.

I've bid on online only auctions – don 't worry, you can get caught up in the moment and pay too much at those too, and I've bid online while the live auction happened somewhere else. But the toys were always visible, the real deal, not just a picture. They were somewhere in the room with the auctioneer.

So mark this down as a new experience. And from the success of the sale, I would say it might be the way more and more livestock auctions are held in the future. Hats off to Martin Livestock and Prime Time AgriMarketing Network, Perrysburg, Ohio, for teaching a very old dog a couple new tricks!

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