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Mr. Guthrie and partners Travis Spivey and Brian and Brad Ebersole have been running the sale barn for the last two years, and all worked there before taking over.

The outside sales are pretty much anything goes, but we also sell cattle, pigs, sheep and horses. The livestock is our bread and butter,” he says. It’s been a lot of work, and it takes a lot of work, but we are making a success of it. It’s kind of a family thing. My wife and Travis’ wife both work in the office, and everybody has nephews and cousins moving livestock around.”

The Kewanee Sale Barn is easy enough to find. Go north of Kewanee on Illinois 78 and look for the street sign Sale Barn Road you’ll know you’re close. Follow the road around, stop and park in the field when you see the sea of pickup trucks. You can buy or sell just about anything, including the kitchen sink. I know because I almost bought one there.

Action flies fast, but it’s not too hard to follow. Mr. Spivey calls the first portion of the auction. Follow his fingers and you’ll know who’s in and who’s out, and most of the time he’s standing on whatever it is you’re bidding on. He only stops for the occasional sip of coffee and to let the secretary catch up on the clipboard. Every last Saturday of the month they hold a horse auction.

The miscellaneous stuff goes first, followed by the hay and straw, and the livestock follows. A potato peeler is up next, not just any potato peeler, mind you, it’s The Potato Peeler.” Tires, a slightly used bumper, even an old truck bed minus the truck await.

People say our hay and straw is the best market in Illinois,” Mr. Spivey says. We also do a lot of antiques, tools, vehicles and farm equipment. We have a lot of farm related household items, collectibles, lumber. And don’t forget rabbits and poultry.

We have all been coming here since we were little lads,” he says. I have wanted to do this since I was a little kid,
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coming here with my Dad. I am having a lot of fun, a lot of work, but a lot of fun.”

Stacks of logs, chicken feeders (a God awful lot of chicken feeders), albums, a dozen or so lightly read True Romance magazines. A shed’s worth of used tin roof, nicely stacked. A fan that works, an air conditioner that might not. Hogs, cattle and coffee are inside, not together, mind you, but all inside.

Don’t forget our rabbits and poultry,” Mr. Gurthrie says.

It would be hard to forget the rabbits and poultry. There’s a rabbit as big as a lap dog. Chickens, not your Kentucky Fried Chicken type either, weird ones with plumes on their heads and heels and some dappled with feathers that make their heads look the size of softballs.

Peacocks? Got them. Ducks, geese, even a turkey. Mind your bidding on the turkey, though, Mr. Spivey warns. You don’t get to keep the cage the turkey comes in, and, just by the looks of him, I’d say he doesn’t have the makings of a good automobile passenger.

There was one time I sold some emus,” Mr. Gurthrie laughs. That was inside on the sale floor. Sold a pair of them. I can remember when they brought them in, some lady asked me if they were male or female, and I had to tell her I didn’t and couldn’t tell and wasn’t about to find out. That’s the thing about the sale barn, you learn something new every Friday.”
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