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September 26, 2012

Horse auction draws crowds

ODON —

Many out of town visitors have traveled to Daviess County this week for the yearly horse auctions at Dinky’s Auction Center on CR 900E.

Thousands of farmers, horsemen and even curious tourists have packed the hotels for the 14th edition of the largest sale in Daviess County’s Amish country.

For Mary and Neal McFadden of Lafayette, La., this year’s auction was their first.

“And we are definitely coming back next year,” Mary McFadden said.

The McFaddens were one of many visiting our area for the annual antiques, horses and carriages that grace the grounds of Dinky’s.

The auctions started Tuesday with the fall machinery, carriage and antique auction. That auction continues today until 5 p.m., when the annual fall standard bred auction begins.

Another first-time visitor, Charles Lewis, came from Texas with a friend, R.D. Kujawa, who is from Waxahachie, Texas. Kujawa has been to Dinky’s before, but not for the past six or seven years.

“It’s the biggest I’ve ever been to,” Lewis said.

Kujawa bought a wagon and the two will make it up to Michigan before heading back to Texas. One person that will not be heading south is Vince Amlin of London, Ontario. Amlin has been coming with his wife for a few years now and collect carriages.

“It’s the only place you can come and see this much in one place east of the Mississippi,” Amlin said.

On Thursday, the Daviess County Horse and Colt auction will take place, and the event ends on Friday with the Knepp Horse and Colt auction. Samantha Bobbitt, Executive Director of the Daviess County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau, said approximately 10,000 visitors to the fall auctions.

“Whether the buyers are here to purchase tack, saddles, carriages, antiques or draft horses, the auctions draw crowds from all over the United States,” Bobbitt said. “Amish people have an entrepreneurial spirit like few others and these auctions give outsiders a glimpse into their simpler lifestyle.”

Also, they help figure out what some of those antiques are. Two older gentleman stood next to a contraption that had two wheels, a handle, and a plunger-type lever on top.

“What is it?”one asked.

“I really don’t know,” the other answered.

Just then, an Amish visitor from the Pennsylvania area came over.

“I think it’s a bundler (for wire fences),” the man said.

Brewster McCleod from Lexington, Ky., has been coming for five years. He said he enjoys the Amish spirit every time he visits.

“It’s just fun to come and connect with the Amish,” McCleod said.

McCleod purchases many items and repurposes them. He might make furniture out of a piece of farm equipment. He bought some large mirrors from one of the three auctions happening simultaneously inside Dinky’s.

“I love to take some of the items they sell for the outside and take it inside,” McCleod said.

While McCleod is looking for items for different purposes, some are there for one purpose only — to sell. Keith Lee from Gulfport, Miss., has been coming for a decade, bringing items he has purchased and made through various interests.

Lee brought an eclectic variety of items, including a steering wheel from a ship, some Native American wood carvings, a 16-foot steel gate and some furniture made from whiskey barrels.

He said he will sell all of them this week. He will also buy some items as well.

“I always enjoy it,” Lee said. “It’s a vacation to come here.”

Throughout the auction, the Gasthof will sell Amish food. An Amish bake sale will benefit the area Amish schools.

Boots, or shoes that one does not care if they get dirty, should be used.

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