A perfect spring day greeted winter-weary bidders last Saturday at the annual Hazelhurst Spring Consignment Sale, west of Polo.
An estimated crowd of between 5,000-6,000 descended on the 30-acre site with each visitor taking his or her time to walk by rows of farm machinery, cars, and a miscellaneous mix of this and the occasional "what the heck is that?"
"We had a real good turnout," said Lyle Hopkins, who owns and operates Public Auction Service, Polo, with his wife, Sheryl. "No one was able to get out and work in the fields yet so we could not have asked for a more beautiful day."
Temperatures in the high 50s, sunny skies, and a 60-plus year tradition helped bring the crowd to the sale site on Saturday.
"With all the weather we've had this year, we really lucked out," said Hopkins.
The sale has been held west of Polo near the tiny hamlet of Hazelhurst ever since Sheryl’s mother and father, Ruth and Ellery Shank, hosted the first sale on their 30-acre farm site in the 1940s.
It started as a venue where local farmers could buy and sell farm machinery. Now, in addition to farm machinery, the sale also includes a wide variety of other items including cars, trucks, lawn tractors, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, snowblowers, lumber, tires, and other miscellaneous "finds."
Vehicles, primarily pick-up trucks hauling trailers of all sizes, were parked side-by-side on last year's corn stalk stubble in farm fields that had been transformed into parking lots for the day.
The first sale ring started at 8:30 a.m. and by midday, three more rings were going strong.
One crowd of bidders, some decked out in bib overalls, followed one ring as it went up and down a row of farm tractors, plows, and rakes—some antique and some not so new.
To the northeast, tires, wheels, landscape trees, fencing, and even a sleeper compartment extricated from a semi-truck awaited would-be buyers.
In the center, Polo Lions Club members were busy grilling and selling hamburgers, pork chops, bratwurst and hot dogs at the auction's main concession stand while on the west end, the Ogle County Beef Producers were serving their specialty—ribeye steak sandwiches.
To the northwest, two rows of used cars, trucks and boats were lined up ready for new owners. Some came equipped with handmade signs like "new brakes, new rotors, runs great, good work car" taped to their windows.
An old rusty Nash automobile with just springs left for seats drew the attention of some passersby.
"Well it is either a 1925 or 1927, and the license plate is from 1934 so...," quipped one onlooker.
Hopkins said he thought the Nash brought around $2,000.
"As a whole, I think everything sold real well," Hopkins said.