Friday, March 19, 2010
sponsored by Jake's Furnishings

For Mike Maske, being an auctioneer a childhood dream

Send a link to a friend

[March 19, 2010]  Auctioneer Mike Maske and clerk Robert "Bob" Shanle take their positions inside the auctioneer's truck, overlooking the quantity of goods to be sold. In front of the truck, standing prepared for the job at hand, are Glenn Bryson and Leroy Ranthum, the men who work the auction floor.

Mike makes a few introductions: the families involved in the sale, the clerk, floor men, sheet runner and cashiers. He'll outline the terms of sale, introduce the group that is serving food and drinks, and encourage the audience to support their cause with a purchase.

HardwareAs the auction begins, the chant of the auctioneer is a rhythmical compilation of mostly indiscernible words, accented only when the price of the item changes, and on occasion a word of encouragement to the floor men: "Hey there, boys. You're doin' a good job."

For Mike Maske, being an auctioneer is a childhood dream fulfilled. "When I was very young, before I was in school, my father would take me to the livestock auction which was just down the road from our house. This was something that I always wanted to do. In 1976 I went to auction school and through the '80's and '90's 'paid my dues' working with some of the best auctioneers in the Midwest."

Gene Howe from Mount Pulaski helped get him started in the business, and Maske recalls Mr. Howe as a very dear friend. In the '80s and '90s Mike worked farm machinery and land auctions with William Gault of Chatham and remembers him as a true gentleman and very successful auctioneer.

In addition, he gained experience working with Chan Fuller and Warren Martin. Maske cites Martin, from Clinton, as having "the smoothest chant of anyone around." He adds, "I liked to go to his sales because, even at a young age, if I bought something, he would say, ‘Sold to the Maske boy.'"

He goes on to say, "This business has helped me establish many friendships over the years with buyers, sellers and other auctioneers."

Natives of surrounding areas, Maske's parents moved the family to Mount Pulaski in 1966, and it is still the home base for the auctioneer service. Mike has two daughters, who are teachers, a son studying veterinary medicine at the University of Illinois and a new granddaughter, whom he calls a "real doll."

Having always taken a strong interest in the county and community, Mike has served on a variety of boards in the area and is presently a member of the Vonderlieth Living Center, Lake Fork Community Center and Logan County Fair Association boards.

[to top of second column]

In addition, Mike lends support to several local charities, conducting a number of auctions each year free of charge to these organizations. "If someone has a need and asks me to help with a charity auction, I feel that it is my obligation to the community to help them," he says.

To properly conduct the average auction requires six people. Depending on the needs of the families hiring the auction team, the crew may have to do all the organizing and setup for the auction, which takes a good deal of time. Mike says that he owes a lot to his crew, some of whom have been with him as long as 25 years. His final words for this interview were: "My business could not be the success that it is without the dedicated people that work for me.

"Everyone sees the auctioneer in front of the truck and thinks that (he is) the only reason that the sale gets accomplished. Not so. 

"For every item that I sell, Glenn and Leroy have to hold those items up, and Bob has to properly record said items on the clerking sheet, and the cashier has to collect the money. If any link in this chain is disrupted, then the group does not function."


On the Web: Maske Auction Service

Auctioneer Mike Maske and clerk Bob Shanle prepare to begin the auction outside Lake Fork Community Center on Saturday.

With 40-degree temps, clouds and wind, the work must go on. Glenn Bryson holds up the first box to be auctioned while Leroy Ranthum (back to the camera) waits, ready with the next item up.

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor