The new facility is not the typical sales barn
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
After it burned to the ground Jan. 6, owner Joe Varner didn’t miss a beat to get Tri-County Livestock Auction Inc. in Motley up and running again.
Within weeks, the new building was framed. The roof was on soon after. Now, on Wednesday, May 1, the new, state-of-the-art facility will be selling cattle again.
“This is fourth sales barn I’ve built,” said Varner. “It will be, by far, the best one in the state.”
The interior is done in diagonal knotty pine. There are five offices for himself, his managers John Eischeid and Wayne Hoffman, along with his other employees.
In the sales arena, there will be seating for more than 250. The observation deck will include phones for the buyers and sellers, reclining seats set theater-style, and tables and chairs in the viewing area.
From the observation deck, viewers may walk to the cattle holding area without going down to the floor. A catwalk was installed to view the animals from above.
On the floor, Varner has installed more theater-style seating and in the arena, a scale which can weigh a semi-load of cattle at one time.
Behind the arena is the auctioneer’s booth. From there, the auctioneer and clerk have an unimpeded view of every buyer in the room. Through windows, anyone in the booth is also able to view all the cattle in the holding area.
When entering the building, the restaurant, with lots of large windows, and the kitchen are immediately on the right. The immense cooking area will easily feed the hundreds who buy and sell on Wednesdays.
To the left when entering is the office area where buyers pay for their cattle and sellers pick up their checks. Computers will immediately send information from the auctioneer’s booth to the office so there will be no waiting. At least three people will be manning those computers.
“Our future here will include online sales,” said Varner.
The flooring is epoxy infused with granite chips for easier cleaning.
There is in-floor heat on the outside walk to take care of bad weather, in the restaurant, the offices and in the viewing area. Four furnaces take care of the building, fueled with both gas and electricity.
The upcoming schedule for Wednesdays includes May 1, the opening cattle sale, and May 8, the grand opening which will include a special lunch and a talk about the new building, the history of Tri-County and what the future holds.
On May 15, a large feeder sale is scheduled and May 22 will celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Tri-County. Varner expects more than 4,000 head of cattle to go through the barn. He will also be offering a steak fry during the celebration.
On May 29, and through June, Varner has scheduled other feeder sales on Wednesdays.
For more information, contact the Tri-County Livestock Auction Inc. at (218) 352-6546.