Horse-trading heritage: Garnett no one-trick pony

Robert Smith | rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com
Cody Garnett brings a dynamic, creative, freewheeling style to downtown Pawhuska commerce. Robert Smith/Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Cody Garnett has a restless, horsetrader’s mind. Just because he’s already in a half-dozen or more lines of business doesn’t mean he’s willing to settle.

Behind the smile and the twinkling eyes, he may already have a new venture in mind.

“My whole family are horsetraders,” he said, explaining where he gets the restless energy, and the penchant for innovation and dealmaking.

One of his numerous businesses is the Great Osage Auction and Trading Co., which holds the monthly First Tuesday Auction at the Ag Building at the Osage County Fairgrounds. His next First Tuesday Auction is slated for 6:01 p.m. Aug. 7, and the way these events work is they go until everything is sold. If that’s 10 p.m., fine, but it might be sometime in the wee hours of the next morning.

Garnett, 40, said the First Tuesday Auctions didn’t start with him three years ago, when he got into it. The activity goes back considerably further. It was after Steve Easley stopped doing them that Garnett recalls he sought Easley’s blessing to make a move on the opportunity.

“I grew up in the auction business, so it’s something I already knew,” Garnett said, commenting that several generations on both sides of his family had been in the auction business — the horse auction business in particular. “I like old-fashioned business and old-fashioned customer service”

Garnett also has an auction coming on Aug. 11 at 1017 E. 13th Street, Pawhuska, that will feature guns and antiques. “Guns sell at high noon,” his flyer declares, adding there’ll be a “huge” selection of guns and ammunition.

“I hire the very best auctioneers available,” he said. “Then, when they run out of breath, I’ll fill in for them.”

It was roughly a decade ago, Garnett said, when the rodeo business brought him to Pawhuska. His father was supplying cattle. While Cody was here, he met Lauren, who became his wife. They have two daughters now and all four of them take a hand in the family businesses.

“We like what we do because we do it as a family,” he said. “We just made a conscious decision to like what we do.”

What they do is a varied and sometimes growing list of things that includes bail bonds, a pawn shop, the auction company, a store called The Buckin’ Flamingo that specializes in metal lawn art (as well as lemonade and home-grown vegetables offered by the children), goat roping, and recently also a bed and breakfast called The Flamingo’s Nest. And there is likely to be more soon.

Ironically, given his independent and highly creative style, Garnett admits to being the only member of his family to ever go corporate.

“I’m the only one of my family that’s ever had any job that I had to show up to on a regular basis,” he says, explaining that a part-time gig in marketing with Copenhagen/Skoal turned into a corporate job that involved responsibility for four states.

And in addition to everything else, Garnett is busy selling Pawhuska these days. It’s where he’s settled and where he’s rearing his kids and he’s pretty sure it can become the biggest tourist town in these parts if it can just solve one sticky problem — enough beds for the heads.