A strong crowd for a Strong send-off
A gathering was held at Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange on Thursday, April 18, following the cattle sale to honor Dean and Eileen Strong, long-time owners of the sale barn. The announcement several weeks ago of the sale of the business surprised everyone, including many of the employees.
Joining with the employees in wishing the Strongs well in their retirement were many business owners, customers, and friends from the Belle Fourche area. The Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange employees presented the Strongs with a beautiful framed print, plus they were presented a corsage for Dean and roses for Eileen and other gifts. In honor of the day, the employees had added a necktie, suit jacket, or both to their working garb and all looked pretty dashing. The employees all gathered in the sale ring with Dean and Eileen and photos were taken during the presentation.
Several people spoke from the auction block of their years of doing business with the Strongs and how well they were thought of in the community and region. Long-time auctioneer Lynn Weishaar, Reva, SD, stated that the sale barn sells 160,000 head of cattle annually and the money from those cattle has a snowball effect in the community. The sellers funnel that money back into many business, from banks to car dealerships, the feedstores to clothing stores, and it returns over a billion dollars to the community annually.
That kind of impact on a community would be sorely missed if the business didn’t continue, but the new owners bring with them experience and the assurance of capable management for the continued operation of the sale barn. New owners Thor Roseth, Philip, SD and Jeff Long, Red Owl, SD have operated the Philip Livestock Exchange at Philip, SD, and it is a well run, highly respected sale barn with a strong influence in its community as well. The change of ownership should be quite seamless for the employees and customers at Belle Fourche Livestock.
The sale barn had a nice crowd the day of the gathering and many were people who have been doing business with the sale barn for decades. Bruce Crago, rancher from north of Belle Fourche said “Dean’s run a real honest barn and I’ve liked doing business here. They’ve got good employees and they do a good job.”
Guy Casteel, cattle buyer and farmer from Newell, SD, concurred, “I think Dean and Eileen have run a very good sale barn and they can be proud of how they ran it. I think if they think it’s time to retire, they have made a good move and they’ve put it in good hands. The new owners should run it every bit as good.”
The host of the day’s bull sale, Rich Vavra, Nisland, SD, of RLV Gelbvieh, said, “They’ve really helped us a lot over the years. The crew is great and always has the pens really good. I think they made a good move selling it to these young guys.” He added, smiling, “It’s a real feather in my cap to have the first bull sale under the new ownership too.”
Aladdin, WY rancher Keith McDonald said “I think it’s a really good deal for the Strongs. They made the right move.”
Amidst the laughing, joking, raw hiding and smart conversation, emotion ran high for the Strongs and for their big group of dedicated employees during the sendoff. Everyone welcomed the new owners with the same enthusiasm and many introductions were made. Dean and Eileen knew hundreds of folks through their years at the sale barn and it may take a few weeks for Thor and Jeff to have all the names on the faces, but rest assured, they will get acquainted and carry on business the way it’s been done for many years.
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