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Andy White, Megan McCurdy win 2013 International Auctioneer Championships

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Andy White and Megan McCurdy hold their trophies after winning the men’s and women’s divisions of the 2013 NAA International Auctioneers Championship.

(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.) – The International Auctioneer Championship began last Friday morning began with 100 contestants — 73 men and 27 women. That evening, the field was whittled down to 15 men’s finalists and seven women’s finalists.

And by night’s end at the J.W. Marriott hotel in downtown Indianapolis, Andy White, CAI (Ashland, OH), and Megan McCurdy, CAI, BAS (Wichita, Kan.), stepped ahead of the others, won their respective fields, and took their iconic places among the world’s best collection of auction talent known as IAC Champions.

In other words, as any past IAC Champion can attest, their lives just changed as the pair will go on to represent the NAA and the auction industry for the next year at many state association meetings, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and through a host of local, regional and national media opportunities.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I think I made it through [my speech] as best I can make it through it,” an emotional White told a packed ballroom. “Judges thank you so much. NAA, thank you so much. And again, if I have not met you, I look forward to meeting you, and I look forward to representing you.”

Before this year, White had competed four times in the IAC (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012). He was the Ohio state bid calling champion in 2007.

Some 45 minutes after the event had completed, a still very amped McCurdy paused long enough from taking celebration photos and accepting congratulations from a myriad of well-wishers to share her thoughts on a long, trying, competitive day.

“It’s pretty amazing,” McCurdy said. “It was a fantastic day. It was full of tough competitors all day long in the men’s and women’s division.

“I’m just very thankful to the NAA and everybody who participated in it. It was just an amazing day. I’m excited to see what the future holds and what the next year holds for me. But, I’m ready to do anything I can for this industry.”

Like White, McCurdy had also participated in the IAC four times prior to this year (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012), and was a state bid-calling champion, having won the Kansas title in 2010. She also is currently serving as the President-Elect of the Kansas Auctioneers Association.

Earlier in the evening, Halie Behr earned the 2013 International Junior Auctioneer Championship (ages 12-18), becoming the second female in two straight years, and the second female overall, to win the competition, which began in 2007, following Julia Sparks in 2012.

Also, Chad “Cracker” Johnson, BAS (Chiefland, Fla.), was awarded the Chuck Cumberlin Sportsmanship award – a designation that drew a standing ovation from the packed house of his industry peers.

RUNNERS-UP AWARDS

Men’s: First runner-up, Dustin Rogers, CAI (Mount Airy, NC); Second runner-up, Jason Miller (Quaker City, OH)

Women’s: First runner-up, Christine Strobietto (Jay, OK); Second runner-up, Emily Wears, ATS, BAS (Solon, Iowa)

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Involvement, flexibility important to champion’s success

It’s not always the Auctioneer with the best bid call who wins the International Auctioneer Championship, says Joseph Mast, CAI.

The 2011 men’s division winner says the interview portion of the contest might have given him an edge this year.

That’s because Mast, in his fifth year of the competition, says he felt calmer than in the past. He was confident in his bid calling, and he was well prepared to answer interview questions.

Mast says he prepared himself through networking — he talked with friends in the industry to gain a better understanding of what Auctioneers are facing in today’s business environment. He also thoroughly read each issue of Auctioneer, and he paid close attention to the news.

Everything just came together this year for Mast, owner of Real Estate Showcase, Millersburg, Ohio. He made the finals in each of his four previous years as a competitor, and in two of those years he took second place.

He says it was the IAC competitions, and his attendance at Conference and Show events the past five years, that also gave him an edge in the auction business. The National Auctioneers Association and Ohio Auctioneers Association, he says, have helped him make connections and gain education essential to running a successful business.

One of Mast’s mentors, NAA Auctioneer Steve Andrews, says the IAC and NAA education, particularly the Certified Auctioneers Institute, have contributed to Mast’s success as an Auctioneer and business owner.

Raised on his family’s dairy farm in an Amish community, Mast learned the value of hard work from his father, Jon, who encouraged his son to work six days and rest on Sundays, Mast says. And Mast, 31, attributes that work ethic to his early success as an Auctioneer.

Joseph Mast sells for Barrett-Jackson Auction Co., and he auctions equipment, real estate and thoroughbred horses as a contract Auctioneer.

In 2004, he earned his real estate license and started at Real Estate Showcase, a company he went on to purchase in 2008. Showcase now has more than 50 agents in four offices.

Mast says he stays involved in several business ventures because he believes diversity is the key to success in the auction profession. When one market is struggling, another might be thriving.

“So, I just figured, if I get involved in four or five major avenues, then they can go up and down, and they don’t affect me as strongly when one goes down or one goes up,” he says.

Mast says an Auctioneer must be able to make significant changes — whether in chant, style or demeanor — to adapt for different opportunities.

“If you can be a chameleon and be able to change and adapt to those different venues, that can really help you in the long term,” he says.

Mast says he is open to making changes to his company, whether adjustments are necessary because of technology or other factors. Although he says he wants to remain focused on the rich heritage of the auction profession, he says he must be agile as a business owner and professional Auctioneer.

“Bid calling is very important to me, but it’s not everything,” Mast says. “You need to be well rounded. You can’t just say, ‘I need to work on my chant.’ You need to work on your chant; you need to work on your people skills and your relationships.”

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International performances showcase entertaining side of profession

art of auctioneering

The Art of Auctioneering

The Auctioneer’s voice starts slow and softly, barely audible against the steady hum of the drums. Bright lights and geometric shapes bounce off the ceiling. Gospel singers belt out hymns. Auctioneers chant, passing the bid from one to another.

Created by multimedia artist Doug Aitken, this groundbreaking performance art turns the speedy chant of Auctioneers into a mesmerizing melody. The shows illustrate what many in the industry already know — that auctioneering is an art form — while introducing people to the world of fast-paced auctions.

“It’s over the top, and it’s fun,” says Jill Doherty, the 2002 women’s division winner of the International Auctioneer Championship (IAC). “We become performers.”

A handful of Auctioneers has traveled around the U.S. and Europe, recently performing at a gala at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The group has performed in Italy, Switzerland and England, among others. More trips are in the works.

A visit to the National Auctioneers Association’s annual Conference and Show in the late 1990s sparked Aitken’s interest in auctions, says Eli Detweiler Jr., CAI, who has worked with Aitken for a decade.

“Doug became fascinated with auctions,” says Detweiler, of Detweilers Auction Service, Ruffin, N.C., who was last year’s IAC winner in the men’s division. “He immediately saw bid calling as an art.”

Learn more about the performances from Auctioneer magazine.

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