Lyle Masters’ passion for auctioneering and the responsibility he feels to give back to his community are deeply intertwined.
Ever since he began his auction career in 1959 he has volunteered his time, doing what he does best: talking up bidders and giving folks a good time.
Masters and his company, Masters Auction Service, are often found conducting county fair fat stock sales, including the Twin Falls County Fair, and auction-fundraisers for area schools, civic groups and clubs.
A wall in Masters’ rural Buhl home gives evidence to his life’s selfless acts.
There are plaques from the Buhl Chamber of Commerce, declaring him an honorary member, Twin Falls C of C Extra Mile Award, honorary membership in the Castleford Men’s Club and Ducks Unlimited, to name just a few. He’s also sat on numerous boards and committees.
He is a member of the Southern Idaho Livestock Hall of Fame. Last year, the Twin Falls County Fair Board recognized Masters for five decades of service by naming the fairground’s sale barn and arena in his honor.
“Not often does one man come around who donates his time so unselfishly to his community,” said Twin Falls County Fair Board Chairman Ralph Denton.
From 1996-2003, Masters was a member of the Twin Falls County Fair Board and looked for ways to help beyond his position. During that time, including three years as board chairman, new rodeo chutes were built for Shouse Arena and a canvas top was installed over the dairy show ring.
Masters said all of the plaques and honors touch him deeply, but he said the works are nothing special.
“Of course it’s a big honor… but everyone should do something to give back to their community. I’ve always felt a responsibility to give to these communities that have given so much to me,” Masters said.
Masters also works for the Jerome Livestock Commission, a job he’s held since the early 1980s. In addition, with business partner Gary Osborne, he runs Masters Auction Service. Lately, they’ve been busy with estate auctions.
Attending one of their auctions is like stepping back in time. The entire crew is fluent in what Masters calls the “auctioneer jibber jabber,” and before long, they’ll know your name, too.
“I learned early on that people like to be recognized. Sometimes, especially at a fundraiser auction, that is the only recognition they’ll receive, and they deserve it,” Masters said. “It’s also about entertaining. You can’t have a fun, lively auction without the ability to get people to laugh. Some of the people I see regularly know that I like to give a hard time, make jokes.”
Masters was born in 1936. At 4 years old he attended an auction with his father that changed his life.
“My parents moved to Buhl in 1940 and when I wasn’t in school I’d go to the auction with my father,” he said. “I practiced and practiced that auctioneer chant.”
Besides a short-lived thought of becoming a preacher, Masters said he always wanted to be an auctioneer.
In 1959, he hung out his shingle and slowly built his business after attending auctioneer school in Decatur, Indiana, and spending four years with Navy.
“It’s about doing what you told them you’re going to do,” Masters said. “If you’re not honest, you’ll soon be nothing.”
One day, he may retire, or at least take it slower. For now, he doesn’t mind a hard day’s labor and relaxing every now again with his feet up and a glass of scotch and water in hand.
“I don’t really care for traveling and such, but I do thoroughly enjoy my friends in Buhl and throughout the Magic Valley,” Masters said.