Swicegood Group's founders talks about his grandfather introducing him at a young age to auctions

My First Introduction to Auctions

2024-02-24 18-52-06

Roman Gobble, picture on the right

It was 1977; My mom and dad traveled to Hawaii for a convention. My brother and I spent about two weeks with my grandmother and grandfather (Grandmaw & Grandaddy) in Spencer, NC. I was 10 years old.


The time was spent in my grandaddy’s Bomber bass boat after he got off work mid-afternoon from the Buck Steam Plant. I never really knew what he did, other than he was part of the chain that provided our homes with power.  He was a product of the greatest generation; working the CCC camps in western North Carolina during the Depression. His hands bore the calluses of hard work, and his stories echoed resilience in the face of adversity, harkening back to his days in the CC camps during the Great Depression. The CC camp workers were participants in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a program initiated during the Great Depression in the United States. Established in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his New Deal initiatives, the CCC aimed to provide employment opportunities for young, unemployed men aged 17 to 28 while addressing conservation and environmental concerns across the nation.

The CCC enrolled thousands of young men providing them with work on various conservation projects such as reforestation, soil conservation, flood control, and park development. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a product of their work.


A few nights before my mom and dad’s return from their trip, Granddaddy took us to a Friday night auction. It was located at the building in Rowan County that now houses Ivan’s Restaurant. I recall the auctioneer calling bids, popcorn being popped and sold, and lines of products being offered.


One of the products being offered grabbed our attention.  It was a see-through hamster house with a spin wheel & all. There was a tube that was vertical with a box in the top. Running ninety to nothing was this little guy in the spi

n wheel. Curled up in the corner was his little girlfriend. I began begging Granddad to bid on it. Please….Pleasssse !

So, the auctioneer landed a bid with a neighboring registered bidder. Then, I saw Granddad reach into his pocket and pull out his bidder card. He raised it and I said  “Yes”.  The neighboring bidder bid again, and my granddad was not going to lose at this point. He raised his paddle again. The auctioneer cried for more bids, but the crowd had reached its limit on this hamster domicile. Going once, going twice……SOLD.

My brother and I were elated. Granddad carefully picked up his winnings and we brought the little guys home that night. I couldn’t sleep playing with the little guys.

Two days later my mom and dad arrived with astonished eyes at what we would be bringing home with us. Granddaddy was the greatest! We loaded our luggage and hamsters and took the ride through the country back to Mocksville. But boy were we in for a surprise.

Two nights after we got home, Granddaddy’s auction purchase changed. We looked in the hamster house and things had multiplied. Little momma hamster, unknown to us, was pregnant. We now had a family of 14. Mom was thrilled!

I had no idea that Friday night that I would have 14 little guys not to mention run an auction company 35 years later. I only hope that the items we sell, whether real estate or estate items, provide the excitement and happiness that two little hamsters did in our lives. My granddad loved auctions. He would have been thrilled at the paths our careers have taken us. #Auctionswork

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