Bob Roper of Onia is not sure what drew him to the field of auctioneering, but he has been doing it since 1961. He’s mostly retired now, but still holds an occasional estate sale or conducts a benefit auction when asked, and he believes he’s the oldest active auctioneer in the state at age 78.
“I enjoyed it and still do to a degree, just not as much as I used to.”
His most recent sale was an estate sale near Newnata, where he was assisted by his son Ward and other family members.
His first auction was in September of 1961 after having graduated from Fort Smith Auction School in August that year. He lived in Kansas at the time, and there were schools in Kansas, Iowa and other locations, but Col. Dale Brown’s school in Fort Smith was the most highly recommended at the time.
He attended a two-week course that included room and board for $135.
Bob got into selling horses and that became the bulk of his auctioneering business.
“That’s where the money was,” he explained.