There is a rejuvenated feeling of excitement at the Central Nebraska Commission Company, Broken Bow’s sale barn. Pens are being repaired, the yards are filling up, and trucks last week lined up for blocks waiting to unload cattle.
One community’s loss, is another’s gain.
Those now in charge are Wendell and Kathy Brott, their son Cooper, Sam Teply and Kenny Kramer.
Added to the Broken Bow crew already in place, the sale barn this last week has been busy, busier than it has been for a long, long time.
It’s a team thing, says Wendell.
Just a little over 30 days ago Wendell and Kathy’s place of business, the Gothenburg Livestock Market, went up in flames, something Wendell says he can hardly talk about. The emotions are still too fresh. It was his business, their business. They purchased the building along with the business in 1991. Wendell had worked there since 1986.
“I saw 22 years of my life go up in smoke,” he said this week in Broken Bow, still fighting back the emotion of it all.
According to an article in the Gothenburg Times, the fire call came in around 4:25 p.m. and within 10 minutes from the time the firemen arrived on scene, the north part of the roof came down.
The plan at present, said Wendell, is to rebuild in Gothenburg, but if the sales in Broken Bow work out, they’ll run a sale at both locations.
“Custer County has more cows per capita than any other county in Nebraska,” said Wendell. “A sale barn here is needed. We can get the buyers here if we can get the cattle.” A sale is planned for every Thursday at present. Especially if the drought continues. If it rains, they may end up holding a sale every other week.
Broken Bow veterinarian Harold McCaslin has served as the veterinarian for the Center County Commission Company (the Broken Bow sale barn) since 1974, and he thinks this transition is great.
“The sale barn is something the community needs and I hope the community will support the new management,” he said. “The community is going to have to get behind it or it won’t work.”
His job is to make sure the cattle being sold have no communicable diseases and to oversee the health and care of the animals.
He added that last Thursday’s sale went very well. “There were about 800 head and that was great ... There were also a lot of people who had never been here before.”
Local auctioneer Jim Eberle agreed.
“It went really well ... the cattle market is strong and there were some new buyers. This will be good for the community. Following the fire, they (the Brotts) needed to go somewhere so this is a win-win for everyone.”
He explained that Broken Bow provided a place for Wendell and Kathy Brott to continue to do business while they rebuilt, and brought the Central Nebraska Commission Company a needed boost.
“The economic influence to the area is a big plus,” Eberle said.
“Even if a buyer doesn’t buy any cattle they’re going to buy gas, or food or maybe do a little shopping.”
Eberle also talked about the bonus of having a good market at the sale barn in Broken Bow for the local producers.
He explained how it is a cost savings to bring his weigh-up cows to Broken Bow because it is so much closer than the other markets.
“Even if you live 25 miles on the other side of Broken Bow, it’s still more economically feasible than to drive the 50-60 miles to another market.” Wendell brings with him a wealth of experience. He grew up in Madrid, Neb., spent six years working at the Ogallala Livestock Market moving to Gothenburg in 1986. He worked at the Gothenburg Market from 1986-1991 when he and his wife Kathy purchased the Gothenburg Livestock Market.
Then February 25th their world went upside down when the Livestock Market burned down.
March 28 they had their first sale in Broken Bow.
April 11th’s sale will feature a special feeder sale, starting at 10:30 a.m. with 300-400 weigh up bulls, cows and heiferettes. At 1:30 p.m. the sale continues with 1200-1500 stocker feeder cattle.
For more information on upcoming sales or to list your cattle, contact Wendell Brott at 308-529-0117; Kenny Kramer at 308-636-8034 or Sam Teply at 308-325-0526.