By Starrla Cray
CARVER, WRIGHT COUNTIES, MN The Hollywood Township hay auction has been in its heyday since the mid-1980s, and now, auctioneer Derek Lundeen of Cokato is leading the way.
“It’s been a well-run operation for many years that’s what sparked my interest,” Lundeen said.
Lundeen Hay Auctions (formerly Hollywood Hay and Straw Auctions) take place at 10:30 a.m. the first, third, and fifth Saturdays of each month (through March) at FWR Auction Center north of New Germany.
Through the years, the auction has been operated by Gary Hotovec, Gene Wiedenroth, Don Koepp, and Mark Diers. It’s also moved locations slightly a couple times from the Hollywood Ranch House parking lot, to right across County Road 33.
The newest location a few hundred yards away offers high ground and convenient parking. Loading and unloading of large bales is also available.
Lundeen, a 2000 graduate of Dassel-Cokato High School, had his first Hollywood Township hay auction Nov. 2, and he’s looking forward to the Saturday mornings ahead.
“I learned everything I know from working with other auctioneers. I’ve been very fortunate to work with people like Dan Fogarty and Fred Radde, to see the inside scoop of it,” said Lundeen, who formed Lundeen Auction and Appraisers in 2007.
Dan Fogarty of Fogarty Auction Service in Howard Lake has been an auctioneer the past 30 years, and Fred Radde of Fred W. Radde & Sons has been in the business even longer.
“That’s all I’ve ever known,” said Radde, who led his first auction at age 13.
Local auctioneers say the profession is exciting and each auction is different.
“It’s like Christmas every day,” said Kathy Krone of Lester Prairie, who has been an auctioneer since 1983. She doesn’t do hay auctions anymore, but she loves selling antiques, household items, and more.
“An auctioneer is kind of a performer,” Fogarty added. “It’s just fun.”
Lundeen didn’t grow up in an auctioneer family, but he always enjoyed the auction atmosphere.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “You never know what everything’s going to bring.”
This year, the price of hay has been higher than normal.
“There’s a shortage of hay, and a lot of people who have hay are holding onto it,” Lundeen said.
“When I first started, hay was 50 cents to a buck, and that was big money,” Radde said.
Live vs. online
Prices aren’t the only thing that’s changed in the past few decades. Many auctions now take place through the Internet, allowing sellers to reach a wider audience.
“Just about all of my auctions are online,” Krone said. “We ship all over the world. Yesterday, we had a doll that someone purchased in England.”
Krone said there are “pluses and minuses” to online auctions.
“The plus for the buyer is that they can sit at home any hour of the night and kick back in their PJs while they bid,” she said.
For people who’d like to see the items in person, Krone organizes an open house.
Having auctions online requires more set-up time, though, because each item needs to be photographed and described. Krone said she also misses the camaraderie of live auctions.
Lundeen conducts both live and online auctions.
“I’m not a huge fan of the online,” Lundeen said. “Auctions are still kind of a community event, where people can see each other and visit.”
Seeing the energy of the crowd is another part of live auctions Lundeen enjoys.
“You have to sell a lot of items in a short period of time,” he said.
To learn more about Lundeen Hay Auctions, call (612) 280-1725 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.