Dressing For Success

This past winter I received a call from a very nice gentleman in Cass County Missouri who had seen the generous article that had been written about auctions and our company in The Kansas City Star.

He was interested in selling some farm equipment on his property, and asked me to come out to take a look at what he had.

On the day we scheduled the visit, it was a very cold, around 10 degrees. I always like to be prepared, and on this day I had a heavy coat, thick gloves, and warm hat to make sure we were able to walk the entire property without worrying about over exposure.

Upon arriving at the property, my potential seller greeted me and immediately began to show me around. We looked at the barn and a super clean John Deere 4430 tractor as well as some cattle equipment.

There were two other areas on the farm with equipment that he wanted me to look at, and pointed to both of them, with clear instructions on making sure the gates stayed closed so that his “bull would not get out.” This should have been a red flag for me, but I proceeded with high energy like most auctioneers eager to see what we might have the opportunity to sell.

The seller went back into the house to warm up, and mumbled something about, “don’t worry about the bull, he won’t even care you are around.” This was probably another red flag, if red flags mean anything at this point.

After looking at the first area, and securing the gates according to his instructions I proceeded to the second area which was about a fifty yard walk across a pasture with two gates. At this point I had seen no evidence of a bull, and to be quite frank, I was more focused on staying warm and making sure the gates were secured properly.

Just as I had made it half way across the field, I saw out of the corner of my eye a large mass which immediately grabbed my attention. As I turned to get a better look, at the top of a hill about 40 yards away stood the biggest bull that I had ever seen in my entire life. This massive bull seemed two stories high, and if his rack were on the front of a Cadillac, it would have to taken up two lanes while driving.

I froze, and to my surprise, so did he. I looked to my right, where the gate that I had just entered from was tightly secured. I looked to my left where an open gate and fence where. A decision had to be made, and this is where I was thankful for my military medical training, where making quick and decisive decisions is crucial. It was roughly 25 yards either way, but it might as well been a half mile in my mind at the time.

I decided to walk briskly to my left, and use the open gate as a barrier if needed. As I began my brisk walk, the bull decided he was very interested in what I was doing, and this is when I noticed that I was wearing a BRIGHT RED JACKET. It was the warmest jacket I owned, but I would have gladly traded it for a Members Only wind breaker if I had known I was going to be a matador’s cape. Now I know bulls are colorblind, but this is no comfort when you are staring at what appears to be a two ton mass of muscle with an attitude.

He had his head down and was running very fast towards me at this point. I am usually a very optimistic person, but his speed, and the distance I had to cover to get to safety, made me a half cup empty kind of guy that day.

I decided to try something I had seen on a television program, and threw my arms up in the air rapidly. To my surprise, it actually worked, and the bull stopped in his tracks, turned sideways and looked at me. I continued to walk briskly and he started to slowly trot towards me again. I repeated the arm movement a second time, but this bull was not falling for that again. He increased his speed and was now running at me very fast. I decided that a brisk walk was no longer an option and did my best impression of Carl Lewis in a bright red jacket. It is amazing how fast you can run when properly motivated.

The gate and my fence proved to be my saving grace. I was able to barely get around the gate and position myself to jump the fence if he came around after me. As he came around, he snorted several times and trotted near a small outbuilding, while I wasted no time getting on the other side of the fence and ran to the first gate, secured it behind me and proceeded to meet the seller for a post inspection report. The rest of the meeting with the seller is irrelevant in comparison to the several things I learned that day.

The first being, that no matter how prepared you think you are there is always more that can happen to you.

The second thing that I learned is to ask the seller to accompany me whenever he mentions there is bull in the field.

The third and most important lesson I learned on that cold winter day is, never wear a red jacket when there might be bulls in a field, even if bulls are colorblind. I promise you there is no comfort from that knowledge.

Remember, Life is good….. really, really good!

Robert Mayo – CAI,AARE, ATS, GPPA-D
2007-08 Kansas State Champion Auctioneer

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