At a typical farm animal auction, the sale begins by the auctioneer listing the starting price, which is usually the price per pound. Buyers raise their hands or numbered cards to make a bid. The auctioneer raises the price after each bid until it gets high enough that no buyers are interested, and the last person to make a bid wins.
Although most auctions issue numbered cards to the buyers, well-known farmers and livestock buyers do not always use them. They may use more subtle signs, such as a nod of the head or a slightly raised finger, to signal their bids. Buyers should be careful when a sale is in progress because they may accidentally bid on animals by waving to a friend.
Auctions typically have several employees, known as ringmen, whose job it is to assist the auctioneer and watch for bids. These are the people who actually record who the buyers are, and they typically note each new bid by saying "yep" or another simple phrase.
Buyers typically arrive at the sale an hour or so before it begins so that they have time to inspect the animals for sale and decide which ones they want to buy. This is also when they register at the office. After the sale is finished, they go back to the office and pay for the animals, then load them up in their trailers and take them home.