Fast-Talking Fun: What It Takes To Be An Auctioneer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota is apparently a hotbed of auctioneers, some of them with international rankings. But have you ever wondered how people get into the business?

Champion Auctioneer Rod Johnson shed a little more light onto the fast-paced world of auctioneering.

Johnson has sold collector cars, houses in Puerto Rico and even a permit to hunt big-horned sheep in North Dakota for $49,000. He hasn’t even been in the business 10 years yet.

“I guess I have to thank my wife for getting my start in the auction business,” he said. “We had a business. Somebody wanted to come along and buy our business, so we sold it. So all the sudden I didn’t have a job. So my wife was like, ‘OK, you are unemployed,’ and she pulls out an old brochure that had to have been 20-years-old and says, ‘you’re going to auction school.'”

He listened and Johnson went to the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa.

Two years later, he held two championship titles — one in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin.

“There are many things involved in being a good auctioneer. Your chant, your bid calling,” he said.

The he said you have to add “filler” words and then practice, practice, practice.

“I used to practice driving in the car. Every sign I would see would be someone bidding. One thing I learned is make sure you have your cruise (control) on because as you get going you start going faster,” he laughed.

Johnson said another way to get in the rhythm is by doing tongue twisters.

He does about 40 auctions a year with his son.

You may recognize his golden voice — he has also been an announcer at Timberwolves games for 16 years.

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