Farm Talk

March 25, 2014

Enlows celebrate half-century heritage


CNHI

Parsons, Kansas — It was 1964 — LBJ was in the White House, the first Ford Mustang was unveiled and the Super Bowl hadn’t even been invented.

And on a vacant lot behind the Gulf Station in downtown Sapulpa, Okla., the very first Enlow Tractor Auc-tion took place.

Leo Enlow and his brothers, Billy and Dub, auctioned off eight trac-tors and 30 pieces of farm equipment. The whole sale lasted about an hour and grossed $6,500.

So, no, it wasn’t big. It was, however a beginning that could — and would — be built upon. A half-century later, Enlow Tractor is going strong with monthly sales that couldn’t have been imagined in 1964.

From those eight tractors and 30 implements to a typical 300 tractors, 1,000 pieces of equipment, and a $2.5 million gross monthly auction, it’s obviously grown in size, scale and — with live internet bidding — sophistication.

At its heart, though, it is still an Enlow family operation that matches dealers and farmers with the equipment they need.

Today, Leo’s son, Dewey, and Dewey’s son, Josh, run the operation but through the years it’s involved several Enlows who have since retired or passed away.

Dewey became a partner in the growing business in 1975 after four years of teaching vocational agriculture at Sapulpa.

Josh, an OSU grad like his father, also taught vo-ag for four years after college and joined the family firm as a partner in 2003.

The father-son pair refer to each other as “my best friend” and if you ask them separately about their key to success, they have the same answer:

“Hard work and appreciating people’s business.”

“God has blessed us very much,” Dewey adds. “It’s a challenge — you have to know the market and the marketplace — but I love the people and I love farm equipment.

“People ask me when I’m going to retire and I always tell them, ‘why would I?’ I enjoy it too much to stop.”

Although primarily a wholesale auction with most equipment going to implement dealers, the Enlows welcome the public and focus on having the type of equipment area farmers and ranchers need.

The auction includes equipment consigned by both the public and dealers as well as equipment purchased by the Enlows.

In recent years the trend has been toward newer, higher quality, ready-to-go-to-work items.

“It used to be that there were a lot of shade tree mechanics who would fix up a piece of equipment and consign it,” Dewey says. “It’s a different ball game today. You can’t buy one too nice, now. The dollars are bigger but people are more interested in quality.”

The sales take place on the first Wednesday of each month, beginning at 8 a.m. and running to about 5 p.m. at 9000 New Sapulpa Road — old Route 66 — just off of I-44 on the west side of Tulsa.

With two sale rings running, the auction can sell a tractor every 45 seconds, says Josh, who does some of the auctioneering, adding that having 65 employees working hard on sale day makes the event flow smoothly.

“We have good people,” he explains. “Most of them have been with us a long time. They’re experienced and they’re professional.”

Sale day efficiency, the Enlows say, is important.

“We don’t want to waste anybody’s time,” Dewey explains. “Our customers are just like Josh and me — they have family to be with, they’ve got cattle to take care of, they’ve got other chores and activities.

“This a sale where you can come in and see a lot of equipment in a few hours.”

In addition to the monthly Wednesday sale, Enlow Tractor Auction is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, buying, trading and selling daily.

And if that isn’t enough to keep them hopping, they have a 500-cow herd of Maine-Anjou influence cattle and sell club calf prospects as well as bulls and heifers.

Dewey and Josh will be hosting a special 50th Anniversary Auction on Wednesday, April 2. There will be a free lunch from noon until 1 p.m., as well as door prizes and drawings, but, most important of all, it’s going to be huge.

Josh and Dewey expect well over 300 tractors and more than 1,000 pieces of equipment. To keep the sale moving, they’ll be running three auction rings. The sale will also include special consignments from four Kubota Ford dealerships with plenty of late model tractors, loaders and other equipment.

That includes the dispersal of Enlow Ford Kubota, which was owned and operated by the Enlow family until 1995.

Providing a top-notch sale offering is the Enlows’ way of saying thanks for all the support.

And, most of all, they’ll be striving to facilitate good deals for all of their customers.

“A good deal is when the buyer’s happy and the seller’s happy,” Dewey explains. “That’s what we want. If both parties are satisfied then they’ll recommend us.

“Having somebody come in the door and say ‘my neighbor sent me’ is as good of a compliment as I can get and I’m fortunate because I get to hear it pretty often,” Dewey concludes.