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Family receives a calling

Courtesy Photo Wolff Auctioneers' employees pose for a picture after an auction in this undated photo. From left standing, Tony Heinz, Wes Sauer, Armon Wolff, Peggy Jo Wolff, Shane Wolff, Nick Caspers and Dwight Entze. Kneeling, Shawn Hanson and Adam Warner. Not Pictured, Kathy Trout, Loretta Entze, Sharon Wolff, Paula Jo Warner, Pat Wilson.

Shane Wolff, a 48-year-old rancher from Golden Valley, says he remembers the way he felt the first time he tried auctioneering with his dad.

"I was pretty spooked the first time," he said. "I was about 20 years old auctioneering in Golden Valley in front of people I had grown up with all my life. I only went for five minutes but I recall having a hard time remembering numbers and staying on beat.

"I kept thinking about how great my dad was and I felt like the worst auctioneer ever and that was hard to swallow."

The Wolffs, through Wolff Auctioneers, have been assisting southwest North Dakota residents with various sales for a number of years. What makes this auctioneering crew unique, is that it is a family business.

"Almost our whole crew is related in one way or another," Shane Wolff said. "Some are close relatives like my parents, daughter and son-in-law, and others are more distant like our other auctioneer, Dwight Entze, is my second cousin and some of my other cousins' wives work with us, as well."

Besides auctioneering, together Armon Wolff (Shane's dad), Shane and Adam Warner (Shane's son-in-law) are also neighbors and full-time ranchers.

"It's easy working with family, we often help each other with ranching duties as well," Warner said.

Armon Wolff, agrees and said he enjoys working with his family because of the time they get to spend with each other.

Shane went to auctioneering school in 1982 in Billings, Mont.

"I was only a kid then, but I've been at it (auctioneering) for 28 years," Shane said. "I don't know what made me decide to do it. I just up and went and told my dad one day I was going to auctioneer school."

Armon became an auctioneer 46 years ago.

"My brother was an auctioneer, too," he said. He died in a car accident in 1962. I guess I just decided one day to do it."

Warner, on the other hand, has been at it for a year.

"Shane's the one that got me interested in it," Warner said. "He said he and Armon would be glad to help me get started."

Shane and Adam said they enjoy auctioneering because it gets them off the ranch and gives them a chance to socialize with the public. Armon agrees and added he likes selling equipment and that business has been good for his family.

"We specialize in selling real estate auctions, farm and ranch equipment auctions and livestock production sales," Shane said.

"I hope they continue auctioneering, it's nice they took an interest in it," Armon said.

While out and about auctioneering, Shane recently qualified in one of the four quarter finals held throughout the U.S. and Canada for the World Livestock Auctioneering Championship. Shane qualified in Alberta on Saturday Oct. 23.

The World Livestock Auctioneering Championship will be held in Greenville, S.C. in June.