All he really ever wanted to be was an auctioneer.
Wayne Wischropp of Lyndon followed his early farm kid intuitive into professional life and is one of the best in the business.
Verification came when Wischropp was inducted into the Kansas Auctioneers Hall of Fame Saturday evening. The award was presented by the Kansas Auctioneers Association at the convention in Manhattan.
But, Wischropp was taken by surprise when his childhood photo came on the screen announcing selection from voting by auction profession cohorts.
The honor had been kept completely secret from Wischropp, and was even more special when two dozen close family members came into the convention hall joining applause of acknowledgement.
“It goes back to the mid-50s when I went to the Waverly Sale Barn every week with my dad," he said. "Somehow I knew then I wanted to be an auctioneer."
Family members can remember Wischropp selling dogs and cats to imaginary auction bidders in the backyard. Farming was in his blood from the beginning, too. He told his first-grade teacher: “I don’t need to go to school. I already know how to drive a tractor.”
The lifetime auction profession started officially when he was 12 years old and he sold a baby calf at the Waverly barn, owned in partnership by his dad.
“I’ll never forget that day. George Sheets bought the calf,” Wischropp said.
Within a short time, the teenager was selling “tail-end” cattle at the Wakarusa Sale Barn.
“Verlin Green was the main auctioneer, and was the best teacher I could have ever had,” Wischropp said.
Assisting with sale barn auctioneering duties through his graduation from Lyndon High School in 1966, he then enrolled at Butler County Community College. After two years, he transferred to Kansas State Teachers College, completing his degree in 1970.
“I made sure my college class schedule was so I never missed a day at my sale barn auction job,” Wischropp said.
Bidders and buyers appreciated the young auctioneer’s skills.
“In February 1966, E.B. VanGundy decided to have a farm sale, and asked me to be the auctioneer,” Wischropp said.
“I was skeptical, but my dad shook his head to do it. So, I asked Mr. VanGundy who would help me. He said, ‘You don’t understand. Either you sell the auction by yourself, or I’ll get somebody else.’
“I looked at Dad again, he shook his head, and I booked my first auction,” Wischropp said.
It was a big sale; machinery, several hayracks miscellaneous, household, hay, silage, cattle, even chickens.
“It all went quite well," Wischropp said. "I sold everything myself without a microphone; they weren’t that commonly-used back then. Leland Farlow, one of my mentors, was a partner in the Wakarusa barn and made sure the cattle sold well."
Different than most auctioneers today, Wischropp never had any school training for his professional chant.
“I was privileged to learn and gain my auction experience from a number of established auctioneers and sale barn operators,” he credited.
One of those was Charles Beatty of Lyndon.
“Charles and I formed the Beatty-Wischropp Auction Company in September 1967, and continued until Charles retired three years ago, when my wife Marcia and I bought the business” Wischropp said.
“We also had regular horse sales at Ottawa for many years, and conducted horse sales at Atchison, Herington and Gas City."
That was in addition to Wayne auctioneering at weekly livestock sales in Herington, Emporia and El Dorado. Marrying Marcia in 1974, Wayne earned his real estate license a year later.
Wayne is now affiliated with Miller and Midyett Real Estate. He and Michele Loeffler manage the Osage County office located in Lyndon.
In partnership with Ed Slusher, Beatty-Wischropp Auction Company conducted a consignment auction at Osage City for 20 years.
“It kept us busy, so I didn’t work at any sale barns during that time,” Wischropp said.
There was no letdown in demand for household, farm, land, antique and miscellaneous auctions.
“We were often conducting as many as five or six auctions a week,” Wischropp said.
So many that he doesn’t know the total number.
“I kept track for several years, but then we got so busy, it was more important to get ready for the next auction," Wischropp said. "I don’t have any idea how many auctions I’ve had."
His children became part of the business with daughter, Carrie, assisting in cashiering duties. It is especially satisfying to Wischropp that his son, Craig, followed him into the profession graduating, from auction school while still in high school.
“Craig continues to work with me as an auctioneer, and Ed Dewey of Rossville also auctions at our sales,” Wischropp said.
Now, granddaughter, Avery, and grandson, Cooper, help with auction duties. Wischropp is anticipating Berkleigh, Emmitt and baby Lin to be joining sale activities soon.
In addition to Wischropp Auction Company, he sells every Wednesday at Emporia Livestock Sales, and assists at some other livestock sale barns upon request.
Having seen auction selling prices from the highest to the lowest, Wischroppe is emphatic: “Auction is the true price discovery whatever is being sold.”
Looking to continue in the profession meant to be his career, the 2017 Kansas Auctioneers Association Hall of Famer will continue his favorite question for people who have something to sell: “Have you thought about having an auction?”