- Eyes On
Two weeks after the Wapakoneta FFA Consignment sale, the tally is finally calculated long after the goods have exchanged hands.
While the work continues for weeks after the event, the week of work earlier this month at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds leaves an even longer lasting impression on the FFA members spending time to make the annual event a success.
Wapakoneta agriculture teachers and FFA advisers Ron Brown and Chris Turner along with 200 volunteers organize the $250,000 event each spring. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the sale.
“The last two or three consignment sales have been just huge,” Brown said. “When you have around 1,000 bidders and there is 1 to 1 1/2 people per bidder — my guess would be 2,000 to 2,500 people are there in attendance.”
The event results in $250,000 in sales with the Wapakoneta FFA receiving 6 percent on large items and 11 percent on small items, with a cap of $200. There also is a minimum fee of $30.
Typically, the sale attracts people from four states.
When the event concludes, Brown, Turner and the students help sort out the tags and compile the sales totals. Brown said he has Amy Schlenker double check them and send out the checks.
“Our goal is to make $10,000 for the kids, for Wapak FFA,” Brown said. “Through the consignment sale, we are able to support the Junior Livestock sale and we also support the students with $4,800 worth of scholarships. We also purchase something for the reverse raffle and a framed picture. We donated $500 for paint for the restrooms.
“This is a great, great project,” he said. “It takes more than 200 people to put it on and to see all those people come together, working and helping out is just fabulous.”
All the work is not only to benefit the Wapak FFA fund, but to serve as a teaching exercise as well, Brown said.
“Through this event I really hope the kids learn to work together and to learn to donate their time toward a community service project,” the adviser said. “It doesn’t hurt anybody to donate their time after hours.
“It also is good for the kids to learn to deal with the public,” he said. “Ninety percent of the people are fine to work with and 10 percent can give them a little bit of trouble or are cranky.”
Junior Dylan McDermitt unloaded all sizes of equipment, from tractors to plows, into the parking lot north of Fairview Road for farmers to evaluate before placing bids. He started unloading and placing items on Wednesday evening .
The largest piece of equipment unloaded for the consignment sale was a John Deere combine. He also unloaded all sorts and sizes of tires.
His responsibilities extended beyond inanimate objects, he greeted farmers and bidders the day of the event.
“The most important lesson you learn from the event is you get to learn a lot about a lot of different pieces of equipment,” McDermitt said. “You learn how to chain things and do it properly as you are unloading it and loading it.
“You also get to meet new people and learn all sorts of different stuff that never knew before and wouldn’t have the opportunity to unless there was an event like this,” the son of Brian Pequignot said. “I like being around all the big equipment and I just like being around all that big stuff and learning how it works.”
Junior Slade Oen discovered the anticipation building before the event proved exciting.
“I really like just loading the equipment and getting ready and set up for the event,” Oen said, explaining the FFA members worked at least 10 hours each prior to the sale day.
While a tractor brought in a hefty sum, exceeding $20,000, two combines did not attract high dollar amounts. Oen explained farmers just shied away from the older pieces of equipment because it costs so much to refurbish.
Oen and fellow junior Taylor Johnson said the most unusual piece brought into the auction was an old, manual clothes washer from the 1930s. The one a person cranked the clothes through after washing it in the cylindrical tub.
Oen and Johnson also were impressed by the crowd this year, despite the snow, cold temperatures and whipping wind.
“The crowd was a lot bigger this year than last year — it just seems to get bigger every year,” the son of Danielle and Ralph Oen said.
The most important tasks for the FFA members make sure the purchased items is removed as soon as possible, if it is small enough. The large equipment is not removed until the end of the day. There are three areas, large equipment, small equipment and tools and stuff.
Johnson said she likes helping out and working with friends. She assisted at the check-in area during the days prior to the consignment sale.
“I think it is a good experience,” the daughter of Missy and Dan Johnson said. “FFA is not just for farmers. It is a good way to meet new people and a great way to visit new and interesting places.
“I have learned a lot of skills through FFA — leadership is a big one. I have learned welding skills, which I would have never learned if I wasn’t in FFA.”
Caution is a word Devin Davis learned.
“You really need to take your time when you are loading and unloading because there is no point in rushing when everybody can just slow down so nobody gets hurt and nothing gets broken,” Davis said.
“I really like hearing the auctioneers,” the son of Diane and Alan Davis said. “I enjoy working with all my friends.”