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Auctioneers Honour Their Pioneers

It takes a unique individual to be able to acquire the skills for public auction.

I’ve got one who’ll give me two, quick where! Going once, going twice, sold and the slam of the gavel seals the bid. This is a common occurrence associated with auction sales. Auctions have been around for many years dating back to 500 BC. The auction method of marketing has seen a variety of items sell such as vehicles, land, livestock, agricultural and industrial machinery and equipment, business equipment and household items.

Auctions have grown to include food, antiques and collectibles and so much more; however, the favourite enjoyed by rural residents across the Prairies appears to be the farm auction and the good old-fashioned livestock auctions that sell rabbits, a variety of poultry, goats, sheep, hogs, calves and ponies.

Auctioneers have perfected the skills of how to judge the interest for an item by the expression on people’s faces and how to scan an audience for the slightest indication of a bid.

It takes a unique individual to be able to acquire the skills for public auction. Skills to engage an audience’s interest in what you are saying, how to spot dishonest people, how to “think on your feet” and how to articulate clearly and get to the point. Auctioneers represent sellers but work with buyers.

The Saskatchewan Auctioneers Association (SAA) is a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors. It is a membership organization that promotes education and leadership for members, consumers and industry. The members agree to a Code of Ethics and to always act in an honest and professional manner. Each auction company must be bonded through the SAA in order to be an operable business in Saskatchewan and the PL (provincial licence) number is presented to the business and must be listed on all advertisements.

The SAA was established in 1974 with its first meeting in Regina and it held its 35th Annual Convention in North Battleford in February with meetings, its First Annual Auctioneering Competition, awards presentations and social. Past president of SAA, Ivan White, was presented with a gavel for his dedicated efforts of president and director over the years.

The top three-scoring contestants — Kim Kramer, Frederick Bodnarus and Brendan Kramer, of the First Annual Auctioneering Competition were presented with plaques and cash prizes.

Three distinguished auction pioneers were inducted into Auction Era, an equivalent to a Hall of Fame distinction. Auction Era, established in 1984, is a permanent display in the Western Development Museum in North Battleford. The SAA addressed the need to honour the auctioneers who were the builders of the auction industry in the province. Those chosen to be honoured are selected based on their involvement in the auction industry as well as the contribution made to the community, province and association. An Auction Era induction is held every two years in North Battleford to honour those chosen by the Auction Era selection committee.

This year the three inductees were the late William J. Blacklock, Harold Prochner and Hubert L. (Bud) Horseman.

Richard Mierau read the history for the first inductee. William J. Blacklock was born in 1928 in Maymont, Sask. where he was raised and attended school. His brother, J. R. (Jock) Blacklock began an auction company and often called upon Bill to assist with sales. He worked with Blacklock Auction Service his entire career and often made time to serve on a number of associations including being the interim manager for the first year of the Canadian Western Agribition. Bill’s love for the auction, the people and business was reflective in all he did. He spent from 1955 to 2004 active in the auction industry. Bill passed away September 11, 2004.

Joe Sikora had the honour of presenting the auction history of Harold Prochner who was active in the auction industry from 1951-86. Harold was born in 1928 in Regina. He moved with his family to Meadow Lake where he worked on the farm. At the young age of 22 he travelled to Mason City, Iowa to attend the Reisch American School of Auctioneering where he graduated in August of 1951. His first sale was on October 18, 1951 at the Compass post office and store west of Meadow Lake and the last sale for that season was a farm sale held on November 15, 1951 in two feet of snow at a temperature of -20F. By the following spring he had booked 12 more sales. During this time and throughout the next few years, he also worked for a grain company which included transfers across the province. Over Harold’s 35 years in the auction industry, he has conducted sales across the province and served on many boards and organizations.

“His giving and dynamic spirit has made him an excellent ambassador for the auctioneering profession,” concluded Sikora.

Elwood Nelson presented the history for the third inductee, Hubert (Bud) Horseman who has been auctioneering since 1967. Bud also attended the Reisch American School of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa in 1966. He has spent years working for numerous auction companies throughout the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta as well as owning and operating a few of his own. He currently freelances for some auction companies. He has a portfolio of serving on boards and conducting charity work. Bud has enjoyed meeting people whether buyers or sellers over the years. He has made many friends and is honoured to have had the opportunity to serve the public.

Vivian Nemish writes from Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan

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