On Saturday Richard and I attended an important community event: an auction. Around here, auctions typically indicate the death of a farmer or a rancher (to distinguish: a farmer raises crops, while a rancher raises livestock), a retirement or a foreclosure. Some people attend auctions to purchase farm equipment, some to see what the going prices are, while most attend just to socialize and gossip. You see everybody at an auction: old people, young people, small children running around. Richard only attends an auction if there is a particular item that he wants to purchase (he’s not a big gossiper…:)). Today’s desired item was a roller harrow, an implement that you attach to the tractor and use during farming to break up the clods of dirt after plowing. We have been renting our neighbor’s roller harrow during the past several farming seasons, so we were excited by the prospect of finally buying our own at a good price.
Auctions tend to start around 11:00 am, so that people have time to feed their livestock in the morning before the auction starts. They tend to last at least 5 hours, and they are always outdoor events…meaning, you can spend a very cold day at a Riverton auction! Here are all of the cars lined up on either side of the road when we arrived at 10:45. It was a big crowd:
After we arrived, we first went to the mobile trailer they use as headquarters at every auction to register for our auction number. We received #161. The next order of business was to inspect the roller harrow. Here is Richard, eying his prize:
The smaller items for sale were placed around the barnyard, while the larger ticket items were set up in rows in the pasture across the street. I had unrealistic hopes that Clyde, the auctioneer (who is the auctioneer for every auction in the Riverton area, mind you), would start in the pasture. I was envisioning bidding on the roller harrow early and getting home in time for lunch. No such luck! We went through every wrench, nail and piece of scrap metal in the barnyard before heading across the street to the pasture around 2:00 pm.
Clyde, the auctioneer is a total character. He is always calling the crowd “boys”. “Come on over here, boys and take a look at this here baler.” “Boys, where else are you going to see a truck like this?” “This, boys, is a horse of a tractor.” To give him credit, about 95% of auction-goers are male, but I still find it amusing. Here is Clyde, acknowledging a bid:
While the auction is going on, everybody troops from one object to the next to watch the bidding, with Clyde leading the way. Here is the fearless leader, taking the crowd to the irrigation pipe:
The assembled crowd:
Aside from our beloved roller harrow, they had everything for sale from trucks:
To really cute mini-trucks (I personally thought that Whistle and I would be pretty adorable cruising around the ranch in this thing…):
To strange implements that even Richard (my personal guru on all things equipment-related) could not identify:
At long last, the migrating crowd finally arrived in front of the roller harrow. Richard was a dynamite bidder, and within about 30 seconds, the roller harrow was ours! Here we are after standing in the wind and cold for 5 hours, having finally made our purchase. Or, more accurately phrased, here are Richard and my sunglasses:
We left the roller harrow in the pasture with plans to collect it on Sunday. It was 5:00 pm before we finally got home. Since we had not eaten since breakfast, we thought it best to combine lunch with dinner and eat an immediate “linner”. All in all, a successful day!