Auctioneer gives back to hometown
POCAHONTAS — Auctioneering is more than just a job to Rick Winegarden.
It’s in his blood.
Winegarden, of Pocahontas, learned all he needed about the job from his father, who was also an auctioneer.
“I went to auctioneer school in Mason City, but most of the experience comes from helping my dad and just hands-on,” Winegarden said. “I started helping my dad when I was probably about 5 years old, so I’ve done it forever.”
A Pocahontas native, Winegarden said his family has lived in the Princess City for generations.
“I was born here,” he said. “My grandpa was born here. My dad was born here. They all stayed here.”
Winegarden has been able to put his auctioneering skills to use as the co-owner of The Sale Barn Realty & Auction, which he owns with his wife, Kendra Winegarden, right on Iowa Highway 3 just across from the Pocahontas statue.
He said he handles about 30 auctions a year.
Winegarden enjoys auctioneering.
“It’s just bringing the buyers and sellers together and just trying to keep everybody happy,” he said.
What also makes auctioneering unique is that no two items are the same.
“You’re always doing something different,” he said. “No two days are the same.”
While auctioneering takes up much of Winegarden’s time, he said he’s also found the time to serve on two community boards.
That includes the city’s motel board and the Pocahontas Community Hospital’s board of trustees.
He was invited to serve on that board when he was only 30 years old.
Not only does he serve on the board, but for the past 15 years he has served as its president.
“You’ve got a good staff out there, you’ve got good management,” he said. “We just have meetings once a month.”
As president, Winegarden said his responsibilities on the board aren’t too different than a regular board member.
“There just needs to be someone to run the meeting,” he said. “I go to a couple more meetings a year than anybody else does.”
Winegarden said he decided to get involved in the community because it’s important for Pocahontas as a town.
“If you don’t get involved and don’t do things, your community will die,” he said. “If he community dies, my business dies.”
He added that it’s also beneficial to the town to be around people who also want to get involved.
“They always say if you surround yourself with good people, you’ll do good,” he said. “And I’ve got a lot of good employees, a good wife, good kids.”
Winegarden went on to say that he’s stayed in Pocahontas because of how everyone in the community treats each other.
“It’s togetherness,” he said. “Everybody knows everybody. I was born and raised here and I wouldn’t want to change anything.”
As an example, he said the town’s bowling alley closed. In order to keep the bowling alley for the town, the community had five days to raise enough money to buy it before a loan company took custody of it.
Winegarden said the community raised the funds to buy the bowling alley in just three days.
“And that tells you what kind of a community we’ve got here,” he said.
He added that surrounding yourself with good people is the key to success.
“I always stress that, but if you surround yourself with good people, you’ll do good,” he said. “And that’s what I’ve done. Good people, good employees, good community.”