Town & Country

March 2019

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6 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY MARCH 16, 2019 W I N K L E R 1-877-977-0007 ONE IN FOUR WOMEN HAVE EXPERIENCED VIOLENCE IN A CURRENT OR PREVIOUS RELATIONSHIP Genesis House Can Help A shelter for women and children in crisis South Central Committee on Family Violence, Inc. 24-Hour Crisis Line 1-877-977-0007 ROSENORT CO-OP • Groceries • Hardware • Card Lock • Post Office • Produce • Meats • Bulk Fuel Delivery 15 PR 205 East, Box 10, Rosenort Ph. (204) 746-2041 Fax (204) 746-2128 L I T E ST O P F O O DS Hartej Singh (Laddi) 1-204-751-0326 Tel: 1-204-745-2511 Fax: 1-204-745-3241 E-mail: Box 2150, 190 Main St. S., Carman, MB R0G 0J0 Movies, Milkshakes, Lotto, Indian Samosas OPEN 7 AM TO 11 PM EVERY DAY Manitoba Fitness Council certifying quality fitness leaders since 1986. For courses, dates and more information visit: 100-561 MAIN ST. WINKLER, MB R6W 1E8 204.325.9672 Open a new account or add funds to one of your existing plans from the comfort of home. SPECIAL RATE* 3.40% 34 MONTHS GIC TFSA REGISTERED *Rates subject to change without notice Contribute to your RRSP or TFSA Online TRAVS HOTEL 303 N. Railway St. Morden, MB R6M 2B2 Ph. (204) 822-4515 Bar/Vendor/VLTs Morden Home Hardware 900 Thornhill St. Ph. 204-822-3550 O ver his 50 years of calling farm auc- tions, Bill Klassen has sold everything from simple tools to $2-million land deals. But one non-farm item he sold that really sticks to his memory was a simple guitar. Make that an old, beat-up guitar. "There was one man who was get- ting old and moving into a home and I was listing items for his sons," Klassen recalls. "And they said, 'Dad had a gui- tar; we should sell the guitar.' I asked if it was a Gibson because I knew Johnny Cash played one, so that it might be worth something. But they said it was a 1937 C.F. Martin. Now, this was not a pretty guitar, but it was handmade and he couldn't play it anymore. "I have a neighbour who plays the ban- jo and he told me, 'That's a pre-World War II guitar so you'd better do your homework before you sell it.' After I listed it, I started getting all kinds of calls about it. I even got one from Lac du Bonnet. During the auction, I sold that guitar for $17,000. By far, that was the highest price I ever got for a guitar." The owner of Bill Klassen Farm Auc- tions is much more well-versed in the value of big farm machinery. He grew up on a Blumenfeld-area farm that included cattle, pigs and grain, and his father would always listen to the Fargo Stock Market Report on his cabinet radio. "At the start of that report, there would be an auction chant and yes, you could say I was mesmerized by that chant," he says. "Now, I'm the oldest of eight kids and when I heard that, I said, 'When I grow up, I want to be an auctioneer.' And my sister said, 'Yeah, right.' " But it was like Klassen had heard his calling. "It was a challenge to learn," he says. "I used to practise it and the adrenaline would flow in me. Each day, you're trying to perfect that." His first public auction was a fundrais- er for his school hockey team. "I said we should have a social and a pie auction. So the girls brought about 20 pies and I auctioned them off. Af- terwards, the guys and the girls ate to- gether, had fun, had some romance and raised enough money to pay for the hockey equipment." A number of charity auctions followed, but it was tougher to break in as a profes- sional auctioneer. After calling a smaller auction for a neighbour and attending an auctioneers' course in Kansas City, Mo., Klassen trained under an established auctioneer, Jake Enns, before breaking out on his own. While farming, he con- ducted more charity auctions to establish himself in the competitive business and it paid off. Throughout it all, Klassen thoroughly enjoyed the work. "It's definitely like being an enter- tainer," he says. "The best advice I got was, 'Talk slow, sell fast.' That makes sense, but you still have to create a sense of urgency." Klassen charges a percentage plus the cost of advertising, so it is to his advan- tage to get the most value for the items he sells. Over the years, it has been mostly a family business with Klassen's wife, Kar- en, working as his auction clerk for about 12 years and his sons still helping out at many of the auctions. A bigger auction takes a staff of six to eight people. The operation has advanced over the years. It started online bidding and was the first to introduce live video of farm auctions in Manitoba. Klassen's company marked its 50th an- niversary last summer, when he invited the public to a celebration at Winkler's Days Inn. "About 400 people came, includ- ing some of my competitors. We played country and gospel music and gave them free ice cream all night." Klassen turns 71 this summer, but he's not planning to pack it in just yet. "I announced at the party that this is NOT a retirement party, it's an anniver- sary party," he says. "I like to work with people, so I find this very enjoyable." Photos by Darcy Finley GROWING BID BY BID Auctioneer found his calling at an early age BY JIM BENDER After calling a smaller auction for a neighbour and attending an auctioneers' course in Kansas City, Mo., Klassen trained under an established auctioneer, Jake Enns, before breaking out on his own. 3062 Portage Ave. 204-832-7387 Manitoba's first registered charity NO-KILL animal shelter

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