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All over the United States, state auctioneer associations and governmental agencies sponsor auctioneer bid calling contests.

Arguably one of the most competitive is the Ohio contest held each summer at the Ohio State Fair.

Of course, many states have very competitive contests with consistently outstanding performances from auctioneers in and out of state. It is not unusual for National Auctioneers Association (NAA) International Auctioneer Championship winners to hold one or more state auctioneer titles.

How does one win such a contest? Nearly all contests publish their scoring criteria prior to the contest. For example, Ohio has this criteria:

  1. Introduction and initial command, appearance and poise: 10%
  2. Body language, eye contact and surveying of crowd: 10%
  3. Chant, clarity, speed, rhythm and timing: 50%
  4. Interview question: 20%
  5. Would the bid caller be considered a good ambassador: 10%

As with many state contests including Ohio’s, family and friends gather to support their favorite auctioneers. Bidding typically ranges from as low as $25 to as high as $300 for items brought in by the contestants, and/or provided by the sponsoring association or agency.

From a field of as many as 50 or so auctioneers competing in the initial round, a final round is typically then held with 5-10 of the top scoring auctioneers. Usually, this final round is the only that involves an interview question.

In the final round, auctioneers are customarily asked a question unbeknownst to them prior, and then they sell another item. We discussed the questions asked at the NAA’s International Auctioneer Championship in 2010 and 2011 with our proposed answers.

Many state auctioneer associations reward the top auctioneers a trophy and/or monetary prizes. Too, the winner of the contest usually receives a paid entry into the NAA’s International Auctioneer Championship.

State auctioneer contests are a celebration of the live auction industry and those auctioneers’ characteristic “fast talking” abilities. For many, the contest reminds them of a time in their childhood when they first heard an auctioneer selling and the contagious nature of auctions.

For the contestants, it is an opportunity to showcase their bid calling, and build on their public speaking, presentation and stage presence abilities.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.