Selling is in their blood
For Dennis Henrichs, there isn’t time for any other hobby — only auctioneering.
Henrichs helps operate the Beatrice 77 Livestock auctioneering business, where he started working in 1976.
“I played college football and worked with the Nebraska State Patrol for a few years, but after a pretty serious car accident, I wanted to come home and couldn’t get the farm out of my blood,” Henrichs said. “We moved back to Wymore and I started working at the sale barn.
“Delmar Jurgens, Junior Thimm and Clarence Tegtmeier owned the sale barn at that time,” Henrichs recalled. “I would do anything that needed to be done from scooping manure to sorting cattle.”
Then, one day, Thimm approached Henrichs and told him he was sending Henrichs to auctioneer school.
“I remember telling him I’ll pay for it, but really appreciated the confidence and having a place to get started as an auctioneer,” Henrichs said. “You need that to be successful.”
Henrichs and Jurgens went to Iowa for 11 days of training from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to 10 at night.
Although it was tough experience, Henrichs found his passion.
“I’ve been doing it since,” he said. “We’ve worked through feast and famine a lot of years. People don’t often realize that there are a lot of factors that figure into the market and ultimately the price that we get for their cattle. From the price of corn at the elevator to the cost of grain that we feed the animals.
“We take a lot of pride in selling the producers’ animals for the best price and keeping our commissions low, just like the farmer takes pride in the animals he raises,” said Henrichs. “And we realize that people have a choice where they market their livestock.”
Henrichs talked at length about the dairy industry and the changes in Gage County.
“We had more dairy farms in Gage and the surrounding counties, I think, than most any other area in Nebraska, and now we have a handful,” said Henrichs.
Henrichs said he’s enjoyed what he’s done over the years and the opportunities to meet and build relationships with different people. He said he doesn’t plan on retiring because he doesn’t have any other hobbies to keep him occupied.
Auctioneering fills that space.
“Auctioneering is a skill and you have to have the right people around you,” Henrichs said. “Tonia Mannschreck, our office manager, is key in our business. I work with some outstanding people.”
Ryan Sommerhalder of Steinauer has also been working with The Auctioneers a few years.
“He works hard and is excited to learn more about the business,” said Henrichs.
“It’s a lot of fun and I get to work and learn from guys that have so much experience and have been doing this a long time,” said Sommerhalder. “I couldn’t be doing this myself so I’m really fortunate that they’ve taken me under their wing.”
Jurgens said he’s work at the sale barn since he was old enough to walk.
“My dad Delmar Jurgens bought the sale barn in 1961 and I guess I started working with the hog sales around 7 or 8 years of age,” Jurgens said.
“I’ve worked in the hot and cold and everything in between. It’s probably not what I imagined when I was younger, but it’s been a good life,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people and enjoy what I do.”
“Today, we did an estate auction and it was a lot of fun, but I worry with every sale. I worry if anyone is going to show up. Did I do my advertising right? Sometimes I worry about the elements,” said Jurgens. “Yep, after all these years I still worry.”
Gale “Slim” Harden has been working at auctions and the sale barn 25-30 years and completed auctioneer school in 2008.
“I had been working for a number of years with Dennis, Rick, Delmar and Junior Thimm catching bids and Delmar Jurgens sent me to school. That’s when I got legal,” said Harden. “It’s been fun. I really enjoy meeting people and visiting with different folks.”