Camels, kangaroos, hedgehogs and other animals considered exotic in Southeast Kansas drew hundreds of people to the Parsons Livestock Auction on Saturday.
The livestock auction, 25012 U.S. 59, leased its facility to K&L Sale for an exotic pet auction, said auction owner Wade Dillinger on Monday. K&L also leased the auction site for sales in December and February, but Saturday’s sale attracted far more people. Trucks, trailers and cars filled the parking lot and spilled over onto the highway and into a church parking lot across the road.
Besides camels, kangaroos and hedgehogs, Jim Kramer, owner of K&L Sale, said the auction featured tortoises; all kinds of chickens; peacocks and peahens; miniature cattle, horses and donkeys; alpacas; several breeds of sheep and goats; blackbuck antelope; water buffalo; African crested porcupine; and other animals.
“From parakeets to camels and everything in between,” Kramer said.
Kramer sold some of his own animals in the auction, but most were sold on consignment by other owners. He’s been in the business since 1994, but he had been hosting the sales at other facilities in Yates Center, Chanute and Gas. In December the Heartland Highland Cattle Association had a sale at Parsons Livestock Auction, and Kramer also sold animals there. He hosted another sale in February at the facility and plans to have three or four a year in Parsons.
Kramer said the Parsons Livestock Auction is a good facility for the consignment auctions because there are plenty of pens there, more than at the other facilities he has used in the past. He also knows Dillinger and likes working with him.
Being in the business for so long, Kramer has gotten to know a lot of people in the industry. Besides hosting consignment auctions, he also attends many other sales in several states. He usually sends fliers and also advertises his sales on Facebook, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he didn’t send flyers. Although the sales usually bring people from several states, he was surprised about the large turnout Saturday and said it probably was caused by recent inactivity.
“People haven’t been able to do much the last couple of months, and they’re ready to get out,” Kramer said.
He estimated that 750 to 800 people attended the auction. There was barely any standing room in the sales arena. Kramer said he assumes some people in the area went to the sale just to watch, but the market was very good, with prices higher than normal. He doesn’t expect future sales to draw quite so many people.
“I think this was just a one-time deal when everybody wanted to get out and got out,” Kramer said.
Kramer also operates Kramer Livestock Farm, which takes animals to festivals and other events for petting zoos. He still has a few scheduled this year, but the pandemic forced the cancellation of most of those events.
“That’s not been the best of businesses lately,” Kramer said.