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‘Living the good life doing what he loves’

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND Jake Goecke of State Center is a young auctioneer who is a graduate of West Marshall High School. He attended the Continental Auction School in Des Moines.

STATE CENTER — “One dollar, one dollar, who’ll give me two? I got two dollars, who’ll give me three?”

The melodious chant of the auctioneer is now one of the ways of life for State Center native Jake Goecke, who after graduation from Iowa State University has rooted his life in agriculture and auctioneering with no real plan but to take one day at a time and see where his path leads.

Goecke is a 2016 graduate of West Marshall High School. He was interested in livestock since he was a member of 4-H and FFA during his middle school and high school years. Goecke is a fifth generation livestock farmer on his family’s farm and a graduate of ISU with a major in agricultural business systems technology and minors in agricultural business.

“I have always had an interest in livestock and in restoring, building and creating things around the farm,” Goecke said. “But it was during my freshman year at ISU that I decided that I really wanted to become an auctioneer after going to many livestock, farm equipment and household sales while I was growing up.”

In June of 2017, Goecke attended a five-day school at Continental Auction School in Des Moines. There he learned the chants and had the chance to work with one of the instructors at a few sales and learned more valuable experience.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Jake Goecke shows hogs during the 2016 Central Iowa Fair in Marshalltown. A lifelong interest in agriculture led him to become an auctioneer.

“In 2018, I started a summer internship at Tractor Zoom auctions, which was supposed to be a summer job. However they wanted me to stay around for a while and I worked into 2019,” Goecke said. “Before leaving the job, the boss gave me a gift receipt to go out to Billings, Montana for a 10-day school at the Western College of Auctioneering.

At age 19, Goecke made the 14-hour trip by car for the school in Montana, and said he was greeted by about 25 students in the class ages 16-30, with one man in his 60s.

“I met so many kids my own age from across the country who had the same goal that I did. It was at that point in time that auctioneering became a major part of my life,” he said. “I had been to two schools and began learning about others auction businesses – knowing who to call when I needed help, and helping others when they needed help.”

“I was also told that in my chanting ‘I had a pretty house sitting on a horrible foundation,’ and they worked to change some of the things I had learned prior to that point, and went back to the basics of numbers,” Goecke said, laughing.

Goecke returned to ISU to finish up his education and graduate in December 2019. He said when asked at that time what he wanted to do, it was a no-brainer.

He returned to the family farm, started a feeder calf operation and continued to build his interest in the auction business by opening his own service called J-KEY Auctions.

In addition, Goecke is the independent sales representative for Big Iron Equipment Auctions for the Marshall County area, setting up sales for everything from small tools and equipment to large tractors, machinery and excavators.

“I also just started a position last week with Tama Livestock Auctions learning how they push and sort calves for auctions,” he said. “I also help area farmers with sorting pigs, etc.”

When asked how auctioneers learn their chants, Goecke said it is all numbers up and down, forward and backward in rhythm with a few tongue-twisters thrown in. He said that while it can be entertainment for some, there are many uses for auctioneering and many different settings.

Doing a benefit auction for a patient with cancer was one of the most humbling to him in his young career to date.

Since getting his portable PA system and doing karaoke in Las Vegas for his 21st birthday, Goecke said he has also done some karaoke nights around this area.

“Who knows, I may just have to try out for American Idol or The Voice sometime,” he said.

With the auctioneers around this area getting older, Goecke said he would encourage any young people who are interested in joining the profession to give it a try and attend an auction school. He added that even the best of the best still get butterflies when they stand before a large sale crowd for the first time and maybe even for several times.

While wanting to get into more livestock auctions in the future, Goecke is fine just where he is and gives much respect to those in the profession that do the household goods and estate sales.

“Those auctioneers work hard- there is a lot of sorting that goes into a sale of that kind,” Goecke said.

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