On Feb. 16 the Auction Era Induction was held by the Saskatchewan Auctioneers Association (SAA) at the Western Development Museum at North Battleford. JoAnn Ross and Holly Elphinstone, the daughters of the late Milo Mahlum of Wadena, accepted the posthumous award that recognized their father for his outstanding contributions to the auctioneering profession.
Milo Mahlum’s father Jesse had been an auctioneer for more than 25 years and Milo’s mother encouraged Milo to follow in his father’s professional footsteps. He took the suggestion and in 1970 attended auctioneering school at Mason City, Iowa.
His first auction jobs were at the Watson and Kelvington markets, the success of which led him into a partnership that built the Parkland Livestock Market at Leross. He also partnered with Lorne Whitehead and L&M Trucking, hauling cattle. Farming was still Mahlum’s passion and when he sold out of the business he went back to the farm, but still auctioneered for Mac Scramstad at Wadena and Sturgis livestock auctions and at Humboldt and Langenberg for Harry Berlinic.
Eventually Mahlum purchased land in Wadena, created Frontier Auctions Ltd. and held the inaugural auction on May 2, 1980. It wasn’t long before he gained the endorsement needed for his business to flourish; a large consignment from the Massey Ferguson dealer in Estevan became Mahlum’s stepping stone to greater auctions. In the first year of operation, Frontier Auctions sold over $12 million worth of farm equipment to customers all over Western Canada. Consignments were now coming in from dealers all over the country.
Over the years Mahlum volunteered his skills as an auctioneer to a number of charity auctions: 4-H calf auctions in Wadena every June; hundreds of Ducks Unlimited auctions from locations in Ontario and Saskatchewan and west to Vancouver; he auctioned for church groups, calcuttas, Mallard Wildlife Federation, Mallard Industries; he auctioned equipment at sports days. As a tribute to his contributions to the community, Wadena renamed the road to the auction site “Frontier Trail.”