Colorado Auctioneer Association crowns new champions
To some people, talking loud and fast can be hard to do, and even harder to understand. However, for those that are auctioneers, this is their livelihood.
The 54th annual Colorado Auctioneer Association’s Convention was held on Jan. 6-8, and members came from all over the state to learn from the very best in the business, as well as compete in contests.
On Friday the 6th, 18 attendees competed in the Colorado Auctioneer Bid Calling Championship, and the award was taken home by 22-year-old Emily Wears.
Wears is from Solon, Iowa, but is attending college at the University of Wyoming where she is studying business management and Spanish.
Wears, a second generation auctioneer, is no stranger to competition. She has competed at the national contest three times, and has placed as high as fourth. However, a win at the local level is just as exciting to her.
“It’s really exciting. It is a really great honor that I was chosen,” she said.
She is the first woman to win the contest, and the first out of state participant to win. She added, “It is a huge deal to be the first woman to win. It makes me feel good that I was good enough to be named the champion, against so many other good auctioneers.”
Wears grew up in the auction ring. She started helping her father when she was just 10-years-old as a clerk, and then moved to a ringman. In 2007 she went to auction school at the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa.
She plans to stay in the auctioneering industry after college, and hopes to run her own auction business at some point. “I would really like to stay in Wyoming,” she said.
Wears was awarded a custom designed belt buckle, inclusion on the Chuck Cumberlin traveling trophy, and $1,000 to be used towards the International Auctioneer Championship held in Spokane, Wash., this coming July.
Runner-up for the bid calling championship was Dax Gillium of Denver, Colo. Another competitor in the contest was George Holter of Fort Collins, Colo.
Holter is no stranger to the auctioneer business. In fact, this past year marked the 50th year since he attended auctioneering school in Billings, Mont.
“I spent the first 15 years of my career in livestock barns, and have auctioned in Greeley, Fort Collins, Longmont, Laramie and Scottsbluff,” said Holter.
Holter grew up in Eads, Colo., and his passion for auctioneering was ignited when he was just 5-years-old. “My dad had a sale in Burlington, and I was intrigued. I liked to sing, and auctioneering is kind of like singing,” he said.
He then attended school at Colorado State University, where he majored in electrical engineering. He then started his own construction company when he was 25. He helped to build the Centennial Livestock barn, and was an auctioneer there for 14 years.
“The auction business is an exciting, fun business. The people I have met in the auction industry have been the same people who have helped me with business,” he said.
One of the most memorable auctions Holter can remember is when he was the auctioneer for the sale of the Baby Doe hotel in Leadville, Colo. “It took three days, and was such a historical sale. The antiques that we sold were outstanding,” Holter said.
In addition to construction, he also runs 100 head of cows near Fort Collins. “I’ve always loved cattle,” he said.
The contests were not just limited to the experienced auctioneers, however. A first-timers contest was held on January 7, and six new auctioneers competed in the competition.
The winner of the contest was Michael Nichols of Flagler, Colo. Nichols comes from a family of auctioneers, and his brother and father both work as auctioneers.
Nichols attended auctioneering school in September of 2011, and this was his very first contest. “It is great to win. I’ve always wanted to do it, and
I didn’t want to disappoint anyone,” he said.
He added, “I like being an auctioneer because of the thrill of getting up in front of a crowd. You are communicating, but you are also entertaining.”
Nichols is a full-time electrician, and became a Master Electrician in 2007. He is also a rancher, and has 400 head of commercial Angus cow/calf pairs. He attended college at CSU, where he received a degree in Agricultural Business in 2000.
The runner-up for the first timer’s competition was Doug Hadeen of Sterling, Colo. Hadeen works as a banker at the Wells Fargo bank, and works with farmers on loans and with crop insurance.
He also attended CSU, where he graduated with an animal science degree in 2002. He then received his Master’s of Agriculture in Integrated Resource Management in 2003.
He has been interested in auctioneering since he was a young kid. “I started messing around with it at a young age, and had a lot of encouragement to keep going,” he said.
“I enjoy being up there and entertaining and performing. It’s a lot of fun,” he added.
Hadeen attended auctioneering school in the fall of 2010, and since that time has been doing benefit auctions, auctions for Ducks Unlimited, farm and estate sales.
He enjoys competing, and this contest was also his first one. “I knew I wanted to compete. I like good competition. I like hearing and watching the other auctioneers because it helps me to better myself,” he said.
Even thought the contests were a big hit for all the attendees, the seminars also helped the participants to learn more about the different aspects of the auction business.
One notable session was presented by Walt Cade, the auctioneer of Storage Wars – Texas. He spoke to the participants about what happens behind the scenes of the show, as well as what it takes to be a great auctioneer.
He spoke on what he calls MEDS, or the Medicine for Success. The points he made was that successful auctioneers have morals, ethics, dignity and standards. “I make sure I am as perfect as I can be every time,” he said.
Another popular session was one presented by Sam “The Hitman” Grasso. Grasso is a well known ringman, and he spoke to participants about the art of science of working the auction ring.
“There are two styles of working the ring. You either know what you are doing or you don’t,” he said.
He offered these words of advice, “You have to interact with the buyers and the sellers, and you must be polite to everyone at the sale. You also need to take care of yourself. Your voice is your livelihood.”
In addition the contests and seminars, the members also participated in a fun auction on Jan. 7, where the proceeds raised benefitted the organization and their scholarship fund. On the final day, Jan. 8, the most recent Hall of Fame inductee, Shannon Schur, was announced. Other prizes were also given out.
“Our convention was great. I was very pleased,” said Rich Schur, newly elected president of the Colorado Auctioneers Association.
Holter added, “This was my first convention, and I had a great time and met a lot of great people.”