“Everyone tells me this was the largest sale ever. I sure know it was a big sale.” — Seymour FFA advisor
When the dust settled early Saturday evening at the annual Seymour FFA Alumni Association’s consignment sale in the Seymour High School parking lot, longtime event volunteer auctioneer David Coutchie recalled the highest-grossing sale he remembered working about a decade ago.
“I think we sold about $85,000,” Coutchie said.
“It was a good sale ... at that time, one of the very best. We had a big item or two, and we were done around 2 p.m., maybe a little later.”
There were about 250 buyers at that sale.
Fast forward to Saturday.
By the time the 46th annual sale began at 10 a.m. that morning, an estimated crowd of nearly 1,000 was present.
By the time the sale ended just before 6 p.m., including three rings selling at full steam by noon, there were nearly 600 registered buyers — 594 to be exact.
And gross sale proceeds?
“We’re looking at around $154,000,” explained Seymour FFA advisor Nick Guthery, who is in his first year at Seymour after returning to his native southern Webster County after FFA teaching stints in Exeter and Lebanon.
“This is my first sale here, so I really don’t have anything to compare it to ... but I’m told this was a record sale for us. I know our food sales were at record totals. And I also know we had a record number of buyers.”
The sale receipts also appear to be a record.
Research of newspaper stories of gross sales showed the auction previously had surpassed $100,000 only once, and that total was $121,000 with two large tractors sold about 15 years ago.
“I was in the Seymour FFA and worked it then, and I’ve worked this sale as a volunteer ever since,” auctioneer Dusty Capon said Monday. “Things brought good money ... really good money. We had more items and more buyers than I can ever remember.
“You know it’s a successful sale when you don’t get home until 11 p.m., which is what happened Saturday after I got done selling and helping people load items out.”
Four volunteer auctioneers — Capon, Coutchie, Bob Crump and Ricky Swearengin — combined forces to sell literally thousands of items Saturday.
In addition, twice as many people volunteered as clerks, while there were nearly as many ringmen, such as Webster County Presiding Commissioner Paul Ipock, R-Diggins, who is a 1972 Seymour High School graduate, former Seymour FFA member and one of the organizers of the very first sale nearly 50 years ago.
“I’m just proud,” Ipock said Saturday. “Exhausted for sure, but very proud. After we missed last year’s sale (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), I was worried that we might see a drop (in the auction). That sure didn’t happen.
“It also makes me feel good to see this happen in Nick’s first year as our FFA advisor. He’s a local boy. His family is from the Gentry community north of Diggins. For him to come home and have such a great sale is just wonderful.”
Guthery said Monday morning that he had deposited just over $154,000 in cash and checks.
“To be exact, it was $154,385.75,” he said.
“Everyone tells me this was the largest sale ever. I sure know it was a big sale.”
When the commissions were tallied, the Seymour FFA Alumni Association’s net auction proceeds were $13,700, Guthery said.
“I’m pretty sure that’s a record,” he noted.
He said there were 113 sellers.
The number of bidders was more than five times that amount.
Guthery said the FFA completely sold out of concessions.
“And that was after we made five or six trips to the grocery store,” he added.
He said credit for the success in the concession stand in many ways goes to volunteer Nawassa Fann.
“I don’t know how she stayed on top of it all back there, but she did it,” Guthery said. “There are a lot of other people who deserve credit for all the success of our concessions, but Nawassa is where to start.”
He noted that “much of the success of this sale isn’t seen by the public,” referring to the time taken to set the sale up on Friday, as well as the time needed to load out sale items on Saturday evening, Sunday and Monday.
“I couldn’t have done this without people like Paul, Bob, David, Dusty and Ricky,” Guthery said, referring to Ipock and his volunteer auctioneers.
“There’s so much work involved. So many little things. And these things all were done by volunteers, people who care about our kids above all else.