The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Shane Ophus Experiences a Miraculous Day


May 1, 2019

Left to right Nick Bennett owner of Western Collage of Auctioneering, Cody Seccomb, Dan Pate, Doug Dandro, LT Governor Coony, JK Kinsey, Kevin Hill president of the MT Auctioneers Assoc. Shane Ophus, Chris Logan, Jimbo Logan.

It was one of those excellent days. Shane Ophus was joining his auctioneer brothers in Helena to do a fund raiser for Jack Racicot, who was an intern on the senate floor and in a serious snowboarding accident on February 16, 2019 smashing his C5 vertebrae and was paralyzed from the neck down.

After arriving at the Capital building, they were informed the plan for the day had changed. They were first going to meet with Mike Cooney Lieutenant Governor, in his office. It was there they learned that May 5th has been declared Montana Auctioneer Day, a surprise and honor. Shane has been in the auctioneer business for 37 years and currently works with his three sons, Blaine, Taylor, and Mason and wife Gwen, so it was a real privilege for him to be in Helena the day they made the proclamation!

As a bonus, for Shane, while he was in Helena and as they were making their way to the Senate floor he was able to visit with both legislators, Russel Tempel and Joshua Kassmier, in the Rotunda area. He was able to thank them for their service. He also bumped in a number of former friends and was introduced to a few new friends.

Orthopedic surgeon and state legislator Dr. Al Olszewski of Kalispell who is running for the Republican nomination for Governor of Montana was in a discussion with a few others when Shane approached. Olszewski asked why there were so many auctioneers in Helena and after learning the reason why he canceled his meeting by half an hour so he could be on the senate floor. Shane was also excited to be introduced to the head lobbyist for the Montana Pro-Life Coalition, Gregg Trude. For Shane just meeting him was an incredible experience as he is a strong supporter of the Pro-Life movement.

The plan was to auction off a Montana Flag and an American Flag, both have been flown over the Capital, on the Senate floor to raise funds for Jack Racicot. They were told that it wasn't common practice to have an auction to raise money on the senate floor. In fact it was the first time it has ever happened. When they got to the door they were also told to "walk in like you own the place" and that is exactly what they did allowing them to immediately tell the senate floor what they were doing.

Only four were allowed in, Shane being one of the four, and he was able to express to the Senators what they were going to do. They started the bids for the American Flag first and the bids kept getting bigger until Olszewski bid $1,500. If Shane had not told him about the fund raiser he wouldn't have been there. The Montana flag was then auctioned off and because there were auctioneers in the gallery the bid moved up, allowing a North Western representative to bid $1,500 for the Montana flag. In a very short period of time and with the bidding process encouraging a positive spirited interaction among them there was a wonderful sense of togetherness and celebration as they raised $3,000.

The day was an astonishing experience for Shane. He believes it was designed by God, because everything worked so incredibly well together, in such a short time with so much getting accomplished.


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