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RYAN TAYLOR COLUMN Moose buys a bull: Button bidding

TOWNER, N.D. - Boot me up and call me a high tech redneck. I just bought my first bull electronically through an online auction. With the click of a mouse, I spent a chunk of change that makes my other online purchases of eBay rummage look pretty...

TOWNER, N.D. - Boot me up and call me a high tech redneck. I just bought my first bull electronically through an online auction.

With the click of a mouse, I spent a chunk of change that makes my other online purchases of eBay rummage look pretty paltry. Blame it on too many time commitments or the high cost of diesel to fill my pickup, but it just wasn't in the cards for me to make a 300 mile round trip to go sit in a sale barn and bid on a bull.

The catalog said I could log on to the Web, watch the auction and make purchases from the comfort of home. With a new user name, password and bidding number I was all set.

Auction time

I missed the social aspect of going to the sale in person to visit, eat and drink coffee, but the computer screen version of the sale had some advantages.

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I didn't have to drive anywhere, shave or find a clean pair of jeans. Not everyone cleans up to go to a bull sale, but a fella wants to at least look half as good as the auctioneer and a fourth as good as the freshly pressed ring men.

When I logged on and started watching the sale, I was impressed with how quiet it was. Then I realized I wasn't getting any sound. Even after I turned on the speakers, it was fairly quiet because the only audio was the auctioneer. No ring men screaming through the computer.

Dad always contended that there was nothing worse than a highly vocal ring man in close proximity taking bids when you were trying to have a nice conversation and enjoy a sale. All that noisy bidding can really ruin a good auction.

Online bidding didn't have near the pressure to purchase as being there in person. When you're sitting in the crowd you feel kind of obligated to buy something, especially if there was a free lunch.

I have to really work at avoiding the eyes of the ring man and the auctioneer when I hit my limit and quit bidding. I just stare at my shoes until they've sold the bull to someone else and it's safe to look up again.

When you look at a computer screen it doesn't look back.

Phantom buyer

I watched my first bull sale on the internet for quite a while as my favorite bulls sold out of my price range. Soon enough, though, a bull came on the screen that was in my budget.

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I intensely examined the bull on the three inch by four inch streaming video, or as intensely as I could study a 1,300 pound bull crammed into a corner of my monitor.

His performance numbers looked alright so when the cry for bids bottomed out I moved my mouse over to the words "bid now" and pushed the button.

I couldn't see my opposing bidder in the seats at the sale; they must have thought I was a ghost just raising the price.

I always like to know who's jacking my price up when I'm bidding on a bull. I'll be hot after a genetic bargain when the auctioneer looks to the rafters, finds a bid and asks me for $500 more than my last bid. I'll look over at the same spot and all I see is rafters.

I could imagine the suspicion when the auctioneer looked at a computer monitor on the auction block and asked someone in the stands to bid $250 more than my offer.

When the gavel came down, I got a bull with two clicks of a mouse. Now all I have to do is wait for delivery and find out why he sold in my price range.

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