Down Country Roads May June 2018 DCR MayJune 2018 web - Page 20

Auctioneers from the Bradeen family of Custer span three generations. In the photo at left, the late Bert Bradeen, far right, started the business in 1923. He was joined by his now late son, Bob, center with hand raised high. Grandson Ron, left, in yellow shirt and above, now owns the business and is in his 39th year of selling. Uncle Marvin, lower left, who died in 2009, frequently served as a ringman for sales. (Photos courtesy of Ron Bradeen) auction business in Custer. The Southern Hills mainstay also has grown a nationwide reputation for its experience with sell- ing buffalo, including the Custer State Park sale from its start in 1964. Several other auctioneers in the area have decades of expe- rience under the tap of their gavels. That’s a lot of “who’ll give a dollar?” cries. And these days, bid calling can easily exceed multimillion dollar amounts when the same auctioneers — all of whom hold real estate licenses — are selling valuable agri- cultural land or business properties from the auction block. Martin Jurisch of New Underwood will soon reach the 50- year milestone of selling and echoes the thoughts of others who both appreciate and are challenged by the competitive West- ern South Dakota arena where successful auctioneers must make their way. It’s a career based on knowing people — lots of them — and gaining their trust. Veteran auctioneer Dale McPherson learned his selling chant in the classic, “out behind the barn” technique that was the practical way to enter the business in 1949, a time before auc- tioneer schools became popular. Today his sons Kevin and 20 DOWN COUNTRY ROADS Todd — both auction school grads — are making the transi- tion from fewer voiced live sales to more online bidding and in- creased digital marketing for their firm. “I never thought I’d see the day when you wouldn’t have a chant,” the 89-year-old McPherson laments. But he sees the value for the seller and buyer in the technological change, this the viewpoint from an auctioneer whose first time at the sell- ing block was a benefit auction in Sturgis where shy high school boys would not offer any bids for box lunches made by the girls in their class. For buyers, the auction is about bargains, or finding some- thing rare you can add to a collection. Add to the experience an endless opportunity for learning and some fun, plus a lot of people watching and socializing that goes on during the many hours it can take to sell hundreds of items. “I’ve got to create the chance of a bargain,” explains Stur- gis auctioneer Jerry Casteel about the atmosphere he and his crew have to establish and maintain during a sale. “I still get nervous,” he confides of his responsibility to run an efficient and effective sale after nearly 40 years practicing his craft. “I’m