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Winner man one of two new owners of Belle Fouche Livestock Exchange

BELLE FOURCHE (AP) -- The longtime owners of the Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange are passing the torch. Dean and Eileen Strong held their last sale on Thursday after 36 years in the business, and new owners Jeff Long and Thor Roseth will conduct next Thursday's sale, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.

Dean Strong said that after cultivating many new relationships with ranchers, he decided the time had come to retire.

"I'm 76 years old," he said. "My wife wants to vacation."

The Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange was originally built in 1935. The Strongs bought the company in 1977 from Bob Ehrich, who owned it for 10 years.

The facility consists of several buildings, which include the Salebarn Cafe, shed and the auction ring.

he livestock exchange handles between 7,000 and 9,000 yearlings, calves or cows on a typical sale day.

Roseth said he will change very little with the operation of the exchange. Sale day will continue to be held on Thursdays, with special Friday and Monday sale dates added during the season.

"We're going to keep things running just as smoothly as they do now," Roseth said. "No major changes -- a few updates and repairs to the facility -- but as far as the function of the sale, it should go as usual."

Roseth, who hails from Winner, and Long, who is from Enning, also own and operate the Philip Livestock Auction.

Roseth said he hopes his experience in the livestock industry will help the Belle Fourche Livestock Exchange live up to such a longstanding legacy built by Strong.

"We can use our experience in the livestock industry to make sure things run as they have been," he said.