The OTHER Marc Bever

The OTHER Marc BeverBidding Marc Bever, co-owner of Bever Livestock Auction, looks at the auctioneer as he points to a bidder during an auction a week ago Saturday.

Link to story about Bever Livestock Auction

"The Central Point auction was owned by Bud Bever. The Wilbur auction is owned by his son, Marc.

"I've pretty much been in the business my whole life," Marc Bever said.

Bever, 36, remembers coming to the Roseburg area for the auction as a child. Now he's running the show, along with wife, Amber, and teenage sons, Marc Jr. and Matthew."

:twilight zome music:

WILBUR -- One couple drove two hours to buy sheep, but departed with nothing.

Another man left the Bever Livestock Auction with a truck carrying 14 goats.

That's the way the bidding can go at the newly opened auction yard in Wilbur.

For some, the reopening of the livestock auction, on the site of the former Roseburg Livestock Auction Inc., is nothing short of a blessing.

"There is a need in this area for a sale," said Clyde Gauger of Riddle, who brought three, 750-pound heifers to sell.

Local livestock auctions appear to be dying off in rural communities. However, 100 or so people filled the auction arena in Wilbur on a recent murky Saturday morning.

They came from as far away as Cave Junction and Coquille to buy and sell livestock. The closest alternatives are in Eugene, Klamath Falls or even Northern California.

"We had one in Central Point, but they closed it down, so we had to come all the way here," said Jay Gould, who traveled more than 90 miles from Selma and purchased the 14 goats.

The Central Point auction was owned by Bud Bever. The Wilbur auction is owned by his son, Marc.

"I've pretty much been in the business my whole life," Marc Bever said.

Bever, 36, remembers coming to the Roseburg area for the auction as a child. Now he's running the show, along with wife, Amber, and teenage sons, Marc Jr. and Matthew.

While Bever says he's both surprised and pleased that people are coming from many miles away every Saturday, his family relocated to the area because "I want to take care of the people up here."

At the same time, he understands out-of-town buyers and sellers will probably be what sustains the business.

"The main thing is getting the word out," he said.

FAMILY LABOR The Central Point auction, called the Rogue Valley Livestock Auction, operated since the 1940s, originally by Marc Bever's grandfather, Bob.

It sold for "a lot of money" to a developer and closed in May. It was located in a growing area where, "everybody was subdividing," Bever said.

Roseburg Livestock Auction Inc., which operated for around 50 years, closed in May 2002. Between 1994 and that time, however, the yard sat idle for several years and went through a number of managers.

The Bevers then purchased the property and the first auction was last month.

"It still needs a lot of improvements, but it's up and going and going good," Bever said.

While it's tough to gauge the overall interest thus far, Bever said 150 head of cattle and 50 to 60 goats have, on average, passed through each week. Horses, rabbits, pigs and even llamas have been sold.

Amber Bever works the registration counter on auction day while Marc displays the animals for bidding. Their sons are also in on it all, making sure the animals are where they need to be.

Marc Bever said he hopes his sons will follow him in the family tradition -- a tradition that includes a lot of work.

"It's pretty hard to take a couple of days off," he said. "We might get a half-day off here or there, but it's pretty much a seven-days-a-week job. You've got to love the business."

AUCTION SPEAK Canyonville auctioneer Bob Brown handles the selling. His rapid-fire delivery offering up each livestock lot doesn't quite sound like English to those who aren't auction-savvy.

To bidders, who shot their hand up for every animal that came through the door, his words were obviously making sense.

"Wait till Christmas, it's going to cost you a hell of a lot more than four and a quarter," he said about a horse on the auction block. It sold for $500.

While Brown rattles off his own auctioneer language with a booming tone, often over the shrieking of animals on display, Bever keeps a keen eye on the crowd, pointing out bidders who throw their hands in the air.

Several times, he pointed at Tom and Kristy Rollins of Cave Junction.

The couple bought two horses, one for their grandchildren, some turkeys, a sheep and some ranch rope. They've been to the Bever auction four times already.

They take in numerous animals, often times hard-luck cases, usually to rehabilitate and relocate them to a good home.

"They'll have a donkey for $5, (then) she'll buy a donkey," Tom Rollins said of his wife.

One Coquille couple wasn't so lucky. Ron and Sabra Regel were disappointed in their first trip to the area's auction yard.

They drove two hours to buy sheep, but drove two more hours home with nothing. They said they probably won't be back until next summer.

"We came all the way here and there was only four sheep," Sabra Regel said.

The auction isn't just about the animals, however.

"It's a good social outing for old people," Kristy Rollins said with a laugh. "We just always have a good time."

MAKING IT WORK Tom and Kristy Rollins plan to be back and hope there will be an auction yard for them to return to.

Their only other reasonable options, they say, are traveling to Klamath Falls or driving over the Siskiyous to Cottonwood, Calif.

When Roseburg Livestock Auction Inc. closed more than two years ago, its owners said there weren't enough animals coming in to support the business. Today, there are other competing factors, including satellite bidding for livestock on television.

The Bever Livestock Auction manages to provide a comfortable atmosphere, according to Kristy Rollins. An auction is also better for her than buying and selling through advertisements.

"A lot of people, and that's me included, don't like dealing with the paper because you have to give people your address," she said.

Even with that advantage, Marc Bever knows it's going to take a lot of work to make just a little.

Bever gets a commission on each sale, which, for example, is 5 percent on cattle.

"You can't get rich at it, but it's kind of fun -- and a good challenge," he said.

The auction yard itself is small compared to setups in Eugene and Klamath Falls, Bever admits, but it does have room to expand. Bever would even like to one day feature an auction with furniture and other inanimate items.

For now, the auction is geared toward helping the "little guys," independent farmers and ranchers. Large-scale producers don't require an auction, Bever said, but many others need a place to deal their animals in order to make a living.

"Everybody's got a chance to bid on them," he said. "Most of the time, they're bringing more money than what you could on the ranch."