Steamboat Springs Cookie Lockhart believes auctioneering needed a trailblazer to break the gender line, and she was up to the task.
"I had a good voice for it," she said. "A good, strong, deep voice. People didn't get tired of hearing me. I had a lot of fortitude and some sense of the way business goes. At least I think I do, so I guess I do."
Lockhart was inducted into the National Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame on July 21 in San Diego, Calif. In the 58-year history of the organization, Lockhart is the only woman to receive the honor. She previously was inducted into the Colorado Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.
"Not bad for a little Steamboat girl," said Lockhart, 69, who was joined at the ceremony by friends and family. "A thousand people stood up when they said my name. I about passed out."
Lockhart completed auction school in 1963, the only woman out of a class of 126 men. She joined her family's auction business, Lockhart Auction and Realty, established by her father, Si Lockhart, in Steamboat.
"It was just something I started to do and decided to have a go at it," she said. "Both my dad and brother were auctioneers at the time, but there are not many farms and ranches around anymore and the business went astray."
Lockhart eventually moved the business to Denver - then moved again to Charleston, S.C. - and has handled thousands of auctions across the country.
"It's an art and a skill, you have to be up on what's going on in the world," said Lockhart, who added that whether it's auctioning guns or asbestos-filled houses, she must be aware of relevant laws and regulations.
"There's a lot that goes into it," said Lockhart whose next auction in Steamboat will be a charity auction for Partners in Routt County at Catamount Ranch & Club. "When I'm not working, I go to school."
Known for her distinctive sense of style, Lockhart, who described herself as the "nation's leading lady auctioneer," stands out in a crowd. With her Western attire, a cowboy hat and her trademark glasses, Lockhart said she'll never lose her pioneering roots.
"The one thing I had to survive on was true grit," she said. "You can't ever give up in this business. You gotta keep working at it. There's a lot of getting knocked down."