Written By: Gloria Hafemeister, Correspondent
WEST ALLIS – The Wisconsin State Fairgoers had an opportunity to witness hear a lot of fast-talking during competition for the state Auctioneer contest at the fair on August 8.
David Allen of Cross Plains rose to the top of the field of 10 finalists and was named the champion auctioneer during the contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association.
Contestants competed for the honor in the Coliseum, auctioning off items and participating in an on-stage interview before a panel of judges. During the bidding portion of the contest, participants auctioned off items with a portion of the proceeds from the sale going to Wisconsin 4-H’ers and to the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation.
Allen is a first generation auctioneer and the owner of Wisconsin Fundraiser, a live auction fundraising company. He is a graduate of the World Wide College of Auctioneering and a member of the National Auctioneers Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the WAA.
His wife Erin and children Paul, Duke, Cali and Elsi were on hand to witness the contest.
The ten finalists for the State Fair contest were selected during the preliminaries at the WAA convention earlier this year. Other contestants selected during that event include Seth Adams, Prairie du Chien; David Bell, Beaver Dam; Jenny Markham-Gehl, Genesee; Col. Ray Henry, Foley, MN; Jack Hines, Ellsworth; Kathy Packard, Antigo; Randy Stockwell, Dorchester; Sterling Strathe, Eagle River; and Kendall Thiel, Chilton.
The forerunner to this contest was the “State Fair Bid-Calling Contest,” started in 1991 by the “singing auctioneer” LeRoy Van Dyke and the late Roy Holler, a past president of the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association. During the first nine years, contestants were judged only on their bid calling.
In 1999, the contest was changed to the “Wisconsin State Auctioneer Champion” contest, a preliminary competition to the International Auctioneer Championship conducted at the National Auctioneers Association Conference and Show. Unlike the first nine years, the contest now includes interviews with finalists.