To say that Brent Graves, owner of United Country Alliance Auction & Realty on the courthouse square, is a man who’s well-known in the auction world — is to understate things by lightyears: Graves was crowned Texas State Champion Auctioneer in 2004 and ranked in the top 25 auctioneers internationally in 2005.

Asked to briefly synopsize what he does, Graves replied, “I am a real estate broker specializing in auction marketing real estate with a focus on rural/ag properties. I’ve been a broker for eight years snd a realtor for 15 years.”

Born in Stillwater, OK and raised on a farm in Chillicothe, TX, he did what a lot of ag kids in Texas did and still do.

“I played football and did just about anything a bunch of boys could think to get up to. I was very active in FFA in high school and since so many FFA events were held in Stephenville that's how I got to know it and love it.

“I thought I’d end up going to Tarleton, but the Lord sent me to Texas Tech instead so I could meet my wife, Ashley,” he says with a smile.

There must be something to that; they’ve been married for over 18 years and have two beautiful, athletic daughters, Savanna, 17, and a junior in high school, and Presley, 11, and in the sixth grade. Both play basketball, and Savanna plays at the varsity level.

As for coming to Stephenville, Graves again points to divine intervention. “When we got a chance at this office in Stephenville, we jumped at it. But once again, I believe the Lord sent us here so Ashley could do what she’s been called to do.”

That calling is to serve as the executive director for Choices Life Resource Center and Clinic in Stephenville, a pro-life ministry.

Asked how he ended up in the land broker and auction business, Graves says, “Growing up on a farm we went to a lot of ag-related auctions — land, equipment, vehicles, you name it. Auctions are how a lot of things get moved around in the ag world and going to those, I just fell in love with auctioneering.”

After his studies in ag education at Tech, Graves spent several years in the corporate world but knew in his heart he wanted to be a professional auctioneer.

With the support of Ashley, he headed in that direction and he has amassed an impressive resume.

Here’s a snapshot of some of his training, experiences and accomplishments in the field:

• Attended the Gregg School of Auctioneering and Neal Davis Auction Training

• Served as instructor for Texas Auction Academy

• Member of the Texas, Oklahoma & Arkansas Auctioneers Associations

• Worked for Tommy Assiter, World & International Champion Auctioneer

• Former partner with George Clift, one of Largest Land Brokers in the U.S.

In addition to all that he adds, “I’m past president of Texas Auctioneers Association, was featured speaker at the National Realtors Land Institute Convention, featured speaker at National Real Estate Auction Summit, legislative chair for Texas Auctioneers Association, and co-authored the state auctioneer law that was enacted in 2013.”

It should also be noted that Graves generously donates his time and skills as an auctioneer to worthy causes, having worked nearly 30 such events in the past year.

The Graves family are members of First Baptist Stephenville, where Brent and Ashley have served as college ministry teachers for the past two years

“I believe in the free and open marketplace and allowing the market to decide the highest and best value of a particular asset. I enjoy watching people participate in commerce and the excitement they show when they are declared the top bidder," he said. “World records are not set with internet ads, they are set by auctions, conducted by auctioneers.

“Truth is assets will bring what the bidders at a particular auction say they are worth. It’s my job as an auctioneer to fill the auction with willing and able buyers. When that asset is a multi-million dollar family farm, you better know what you are doing and do it right.”

you better know what you are doing and do it right.”