table rock volunteer fire department
Since 1966, the firefighters have held an annual consignment sale as a fundraiser for new equipment and other needs. It is a tremendous community garage sale -- with hedge posts and farm equipment and old furniture and wringer washing machines and bicycles and old dishes. It's a place where old friends and neighbors come to down from far and near to visit and see that the town is still going. It's a place to find some good food -- biscuits and gravy at the Legion Hall real early with nachos and long johns and other things through the day. Fresh baked kolaches by the Table Rock Community Club at the Reflections Drug Store next to the bank. Homemade soup and sandwiches and desserts at the Methodist Church basement. Our friends with the Amish fried pies have moved away but in 2017 another family stepped in with a bake sale table by the bank, with homemade pies, donuts, cinnamon rolls and so on.
1966, the first year
All 1982 photos shared by Sharla Sitzman Cerra
All 2015 photos by Kim Vrtiska
Video by Kim Vrtiska
All 2017 photos below shared by Sharla Sitzman Cerra
Terry Frank and Paul Burget took some time off from the auction rings to kick back. "I'm 83 years old," says Paul, whose older brother John belonged to the Table Rock American Legion. "He still has cattle," Terry says, "How many, a hundred?" "One hundred fifty. It gives me something to do in the mornings."
auctioneer clay schaardt of table rock
at the legion hall
at the methodist church soup lunch
2018 - 2019 - No pictures available
2020 - the sale was canceled because of the coronavirus
2021 - no pictures available
The 2021 Table Rock Consignment Sale
Newspaper article by Sharla Sitzman
The Table Rock Volunteer Fire Department held their annual consignment sale last Saturday. For the first time in memory, last year’s sale had been cancelled, and as a result there was a healthy volume of sale items. Fortunately, the weather cooperated. We have had sales with blowing snow, sales that began standing on sheets of ice, sales on gray days, and sales on days with such beautiful Spring weather that robins hop in the grass. This year it was a crisp 60 degrees with plenty of sunshine gushing down and folks were as pleased as cats in a dairy barn.
When I checked in and got my number, I was number 65. By the end of the day, over 500 numbers had been handed out to bidders. Considering that most bidders came with someone, that was a healthy crowd spread all around the Square. As old friends met, you could hear questions; “Isn’t this weather great?” “Did you buy anything yet?” “Seen those kolaches over at the drugstore?” And you could hear conversations about Covid, many happy to have had their vaccines by now, and feeling more comfortable about an outdoor gathering on such a day.
I went to the auction to watch the auctioneers. Bill Pangburn, a Table Rock auctioneer 100 years ago or so, advertised he was “ready to cry” at all times. I wish I could have heard him, but at least we still have old-time auctions.
I’ve been going to the Table Rock consignment sale since I was a kid. It started when I was about 10, and Ab Christensen and George “Cricket” Albright of Christensen Real Estate and Auction Service were the auctioneers.
There is now a young auctioneer from Steinauer, Clay Schaardt, who has joined the ranks a few years ago who I especially enjoy. Clay is a cut from the old c loth. Cricket and Ab would have been proud to work side-by-side with this young man. He has a long ways to go before he reaches the zenith but boy is he headed that way.
Clay has the urgent forward movement of a steam engine, sweeping the crowd along with the need to buy, to pay just a little more, without the least hitch in the git along. Dollar dollar dollar! One money, buy the three. Five? Five? Now six, now six! Here’s a table, and a nice one, do I hear five? Here’s one of the best recliners you ever sat on! Now that, folks, is a tin toad for the record books, put that in your garden and let the praise pour in. Here it is, the only leopard print sitting chair you will find in Table Rock today and this is your only chance to buy it!
Clay was doing the furniture last Saturday. It was arrayed along the west side of the Square and there was a lot of it.
By around 3:30, his truck had gone down the block then up block, then down again. He thought he was done. "Folks this is the last piece of furniture, this is your last chance to buy furniture on the streets of Table Rock, this year right here, today." Somebody pointed out that there was still another row to do. Hahaha! "I need help!”he laughed. And he jumped back into action!
This scene was played out twice more, because this was a three ring auction.
There was also the ring at the old fire hall. Household items were sold there. They stopped at Noon to sell rare coins, guns, and other collectibles.
There was also the machinery ring, running on the north, west east, and south sides of the Square. Bales of hay, tractors, garden equipment. I saw an old corn sheller, lawn mowers, piles and piles and piles of everything that I don’t know the name of – but the auctioneer did.
Many don’t know that those auctioneers are volunteers. They spend the whole day putting on a show as they take bids and try to get top dollar for the sellers and the fire department, who gets a small percentage.
This year, one of the longtime auctioneers, Randy Speckman of Tecumseh, was missing in action. Cancer had taken him days before the auction. But Randy’s co-worker Dakotah Falk did Randy proud. Clay had Quest Flesner of Hannibal to back him up. Wes DeBuhr of Auburn was back, as was Steve Kostal of Odell.
Steve Kostal, by the way, has been crying auctions since 1983. That’s right almost 40 years. I think he deserves another story just about him one of these days. He says he used to help Ab Christensen. Also stepping in was auctioneer Lane Meyer, who is an independent who jumps in and helps at this and other consignment sales.
In the trailer handing out numbers and taking in money were volunteers Kelly Findlay, Amy Huzeker, Jessica Kreifel, and Stefanie Rauner.
The volunteer fire fighters stood shoulder to shoulder all day long. Some had been busy the day before, as folks brought their stuff into the auction, filling up all four sides of the Square.
On the day of the auction, a team of at least two worked with the auctioneers one with a flagpole that he placed on the item being bid on and the other as a bid taker, identifying and relaying bids to the auctioneer. These were the men who show up if you have a field fire, or a shed on fire, or you are pinned in your truck after a road accident. They need equipment and training, and they are willing to work for that money. This is their main fundraiser of the year.
The sale has been going on for over 50 years. It has spawned fundraisers for other groups, too.
The congregation of the Methodist Church, standing proudly at the northwest corner of the Square, has long had a soup lunch and bake sale, and traditionally sells out no matter how much chicken noodle soup and vegetable beef soup they make.
The American Legion gave up its long-time food stand this year but they still held a raffle for a couple of nice guns, a Henry Repeating Arms Lever Action .22 LR rifle and a Ruger K10/22 NRA TD semiautomatic .22 rifle.
The Table Rock Community Club, a relative newcomer, has a fundraiser for the annual fair. Volunteers whomped up over 100 dozen kolaches, using 100 pounds of flour. They sold almost 400 of Garrett Rogge’s pulled pork sandwiches, and those sandwiches were darn good – moist, fluffy, and tender. They also served up gallons of the popular Table Rock Tiger blend of coffee, hand roasted and donated by Matt Boshart of Reboot Coffee .
There was one other byproduct of the sale: the new playground equipment. We love having kids in Table Rock, and this year bought new playground equipment. It cost more money than expected, as things sometimes do, but I hope the Village Board members were able to take a peek at what was happening at their new playground.
Kids swarmed all over the playground all day long. Nothing was left unplayed on. My niece wanted to swing in the new tandem swings, and little partners came up constantly to join her. The merry-go-round never stopped.
It was a fine day for playing in the park. It was a fine day for an auction. It was a fine day to be in Table Rock, Nebraska.