MPW.70 / 2018 Sale Barn by Chase Castor
Photographer
Chase Castor Aurora, Mo.
Team Cox

Story Summary

Farmers all over Douglas County and the surrounding areas gather every Thursday at the sale barn in Squires, Missouri to buy and sell cattle. Diesel trucks towing gooseneck trailers begin filing into the parking lot in the morning, lining up for their turn to unload animals. As you walk through the front door you're greeted by a shabby cafeteria and the smell of coffee and bacon grease. Boisterous voices fill the air, most of the conversations come in fragments, interrupted by constant laughter. The auction is a social event, as informal as a church picnic. Families bring kids. Old men nod off to the drone of the auctioneer. A finger wag or a slight nod of the head can place a bid. It’s an all-day affair that doesn’t guarantee any pay day, but it’s clear there’s a lot more going on than cattle trading hands. It’s a communal business that extends into friendships and family history.