After 36 years of owning Stony Pike Livestock Auction, Ron Bullard ran his final auction Friday afternoon.
“I’m 70 years old and it’s time for me retire and enjoy life,” he said.
His sons, Butch and Kevin Bullard, take over the business at 830 E. Main St. today.
Butch never imagined his father would actually retire from the livestock auction business.
“I thought he would run it forever,” said Butch.
Ron originally decided to sell the business about a year ago.
He finally discussed the idea with Butch and Kevin, who own a sales barn in Boswell. Since their father purchased Stony Pike Auction, Butch and his brother had always hoped to own it one day.
While Butch expected his father to announce he would be moving to Florida, Ron and Marsha, his wife and business partner, decided to stick around and manage Bullshippers Cafe, the restaurant located next to the auction barn.
“It is still ours,” Ron said. “We did not find a buyer for it and we weren’t necessarily looking for a buyer. We enjoy that and we’re not going to just crawl over and die.”
Ron felt it was important to sell the auction barn, as opposed to just closing the business for good. Livestock auction barns for smaller cattle feeders are difficult to find, which made it even more important to ensure the business remained opened, he said.
“I think the community needs this,” he said. “It’s a place to sell their livestock.”
Ron added that Logansport doesn’t need to lose another business.
“We’ve lost enough already,” he added.
Marsha has been very active in operating the business. and has dealt with all the headaches dealing with the business.
“She’s been responsible for operations,” he said. “She was a farm girl, born and raised in Jaspar County. She’s been very helpful.”
Ron has been working in the livestock auction business for a number of years. Before purchasing Stony Pike Livestock Auction from Lester Murtha, its original owner, he worked at auction barns in Claypool and Topeka.
“In November 1974, I had a chance to buy this one and we‘ve been here ever since,” he said.
Ron estimated the auction barn opened close to 50 years prior to him purchasing the business.
Since he took over, Ron has made several changes, including a new arena, expanding the barn and building new offices.
Stony Pike conducts its weekly auction on Friday afternoon and it usually lasts into the evening. Each auction features a variety of animals being sold, including cattle, sheep and goats. Hogs, however, aren’t sold at Stony Pike, Ron said.
Selling nearly 500 animals at each auction, Stony Pike attracts livestock from around the state as well as Ohio, Michigan and Illinois Butch and Kevin have no plans to make any changes.
Ron is pleased his sons decided to buy him out.
“It’s very important to both of us that the boys are taking over,” he said.
Butch couldn’t imagine anyone else purchasing the business, which he said has become part of the family’s history.
“I can’t imagine if someone else bought it,” he admitted. “That would have bothered me if someone else took over.”
Ron hopes to spend more time with his 32 grandchildren with the extra time he will gain.
“I’ve not been able to spend much time with them,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going to ball games and cheerleading camps. I might not spend much time with my kids, but I will with the grandkids.”
• Denise Massie is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or email@example.com