Ruden family honors father with Little Yellow Dog

Wednesday, December 7, 2022
(Photos Contributed) Cadillac, a Wheaton Terrier puppy, is the 2022 Little Yellow Dog Auction centerpiece.

LE MARS — The 2022 Little Yellow Dog Auction pup has a special place in the hearts of a Le Mars family.

Dan Ruden said he and his siblings have donated the soft-coated Wheaton Terrier puppy, named Cadillac, or Cadi for short, to honor the many years their father, Harold Ruden, served as auctioneer for charity event.

This year marks the 87th annual Little Yellow Dog Auction, which is sponsored by the Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog, with more than 40 of those years cried by Harold Ruden.

The late Harold Ruden was the auctioneer for the Little Yellow Dog Auction in Sioux City for 40 years.

Cadi is named in honor of Harold, who always drove a Cadillac, according to Dan.

“My family donating the dog includes my sister Linda Hildebrandt from Tennessee, my sister Janet Wimer from Missouri, my brother Walter Ruden also from Tennessee, and me,” Dan explained.

The family had donated a dog twice in the past, first when their mother Gracie passed away in 1993, and then again in 2004 after their dad Harold passed away.

In 1993, the family donated a bull terrier named Lady Gracie, which was purchased by Norm and Andria Watt for $8,600.

In 2004, they donated Colonel Harold, a Boston Terrier. That dog fetched $20,000 and was purchased by Bob Scott and Duane Davis.

“Dad had cried the Little Yellow dog auction for many years, first with his business partner Dick Richards, then on his own, starting in 1961 up until around 2001 when his health would no longer allow him to make the trip to Sioux City,” he continued.

The Ruden children grew up listening to the Little Yellow Dog Auction on KSCJ radio.

“Very early on we would listen to the auctions with mom on the radio as they were and still are broadcast on KSCJ Radio, though now they are also live streamed by the Sioux City Journal on their Facebook page,” Dan said.

“Once I got a little older I went with dad to the auctions and in the 1990s dad got a VHS video camera and I would always record auctions for him.

“As far as attending the auction now, my wife Joyce and I have not missed a Little Yellow Dog auction with the exception of 2020 when there was only a live streamed auction due to Covid,” he said.

“Since the Little Yellow Dog has been a very long standing tradition in the Ruden family, my siblings and I have a very big place in our heart for this event and wanted to donate the dog one more time in honor of both our parents who were a big part of this annual event to help deserving children in Sioux City have Christmas,” Dan said.

Bruce Brock of Brock Auction Co. in Le Mars, worked with Harold for several years at the Little Yellow Dog Auction and handles the auctioneer duties now.

“Harold was our neighbor, and was the top auctioneer in the area,” Brock said. “He asked me in 1997 to start working with him, and then he did it with me for two or three years,” he said.

Brock still has vivid memories of Harold and working with him at the auction.

“They called Harold the Grand Growler. Don Stone, a local celebrity in Sioux City with television and radio, and Harold, were good friends,” Brock recalled.

“Harold had a way of captivating the crowd and the audience. He had a really commanding presence, he took control,” Brock said. “He had a way of expressing the emotional side of this organization, so that in a way that people really wanted to be a part of it.”

Brock went on to say the Little Yellow Dog Auction, which started at the Sioux City Stockyards, combined with the Goodfellow fund.

“There was a small dog that was sold at auction the first year they did it, in 1936,” he said.

“The greatest thing about it is there are about 8,000-10,000 kids in Siouxland, — it’s not just a Sioux City charity, it covers northeast Nebraska, southeast South Dakota and quite a bit of western Iowa — each kid gets two toys.

“It’s a wonderful charity because we’ve had a lot of them say over the years, that without this Little Yellow Dog and the Goodfellow organization, their kids wouldn’t get a present. It’s just heartwarming,” Brock said.

It is also one of the largest fundraisers in Sioux City for Siouxland area people, he said.

“For me, and our family, Brock Auction, it’s the most gratifying sale we do all year long, because it doesn’t make any money for us but it makes a wonderful giving feeling back to the community,” Brock said.

He pointed out donors are businesses and families, who through the years have played a large role in the fundraising efforts and who want to give back to the communities.

“But Harold was kind of the catalyst that kept it all going and made it exciting and a lot of fun for people to be at. The crowds just loved him when he was there, like a rock star,” he said.

Proceeds from the auction will go to the Sioux City Journal’s Goodfellow Charities, which has provided Christmas toys, gifts and books to underprivileged children since 1914.

The Ancient and Effervescent Order of the Little Yellow Dog Auction is the grand finale to the Goodfellow Fund drive. This year’s goal is $135,000.

The auction will take place Saturday, Dec. 10, in the atrium of the Ho-Chunk Centre, 614 Fourth St., in Sioux City.

The All-America Concert Band kicks off the festivities with the auction starting at noon.

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