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Life is Simple: I’ve finally achieved one of my lifetime career goals.

Jerry Crownover

August 26, 2020

3 Min Read

When I was a kid, I tagged along with my father to cattle sales all over the country and had dreams of choosing one of two professions. The first was that of being a livestock order-buyer. These men always wore the nicest hats and most expensive boots, and seemed to have an endless supply of money that allowed them to purchase cattle by the trailer truckload. What could be easier than sitting in a chair all daylong (or nightlong) and spending other people’s money?

My second career option was to become a livestock auctioneer. These men, with their unofficial title of “Colonel,” had the unique ability to talk fast, with a pleasing, rhythmic cadence that lulled me to sleep many an afternoon and night during my childhood. Of course, the purpose of their chant is not to lull you to sleep, but rather to provide a sense of urgency among the bidders to purchase an item by outbidding others who also desire the same item.

I can remember my father saying that a good auctioneer could make the animal bring every bit of its worth, and a really good auctioneer could make it bring a few dollars more. That stuck with me throughout my life.

After high school, I contemplated going to auction school, but unfortunately, when I had the time, I didn’t have the money. After college, I found myself teaching agriculture. Eventually, I had enough money to pay for auction school, but I was so busy with my career, I then found myself unable to find the time to go — so the dream languished in the back of my mind for many, many years.

Livestock auctioneer

Throughout my lifetime, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know dozens of auctioneers, many of whom have become very good friends. I’ve always admired not only their skill at auctioneering, but also their ability to banter with the audience and make any sale as entertaining as necessary. The very best ones wear even more expensive hats than the order-buyers, their boots cost more than many of the animals they sell, and more often than not, they drive to the auctions and park their new Cadillacs in the parking lot right beside the dusty trucks of the prospective buyers. That is success.

Last spring, I happened to notice an ad for a major auction college informing readers that it would hold its summer session at a resort area only about an hour from where I live. Unbeknownst to anyone around me, I enrolled in the weeklong course. Unfortunately, two weeks before I was supposed to leave, it was canceled because of the pandemic. Searching the internet, I found another one a long way off, which was still going to have its course. I enrolled.

Two weeks before this course was supposed to start, it was postponed, so I still had hopes. Eventually it was rescheduled, in a different city, and my dreams were rekindled. I informed my wife, kids, friends and neighbors. For the next few weeks, I was called, among other things, “stupid,” “crazy,” “insane,” “deranged” and other words I choose not to print.

But folks, after spending eight days and nights in beautiful Des Moines, Iowa, with 24 of my newest best friends, you can now call me … “Colonel.”

Crownover farms in Missouri.

About the Author(s)

Jerry Crownover

Jerry Crownover raises beef cattle in Missouri.

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