Written By: Jim Massey, Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
WEST ALLIS — Jim Gavin of Reedsburg took home top honors in the Wisconsin Champion Auctioneer Contest Aug. 9 at the Wisconsin State Fair.
Gavin, an auctioneer with Gavin Brothers Auctioneers of Reedsburg and Baraboo, has been an auctioneer since 2006. He is a fourth generation auctioneer in the family business. Gavin Brothers has been in the auction and real estate business for more than 60 years. They conduct more than 125 auctions a year and specialize in farm, heavy equipment, real estate, antique and estate sales.
Jim Gavin is a graduate of the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. He finished as first runner-up at the state contest in both 2014 and 2015.
Reserve champion honors in the competition went to David Allen of Cross Plains. Allen is store manager for UW Provisions and owner of D.P. Allen LLC of Cross Plains. He is a graduate of the World Wide College of Auctioneering and the Professional Ringmen’s Institute.
Placing third in the competition was Randy Stockwell, an auctioneer from Dorchester. Stockwell and his wife, Beaner, own R.J. Stockwell Land & Auction Co. of Dorchester and operate R.J. Stockwell Auction Center in Stetsonville. He is also co-owner/operator of a 130-acre farm in Dorchester.
The number of contestants was whittled from 17 to 12 during the state auctioneers’ convention in January, and from 12 to six finalists before the winners were announced.
Other finalists were Mark Oberholtzer of Owen; Ray Henry of Foley, Minn.; and Robert Helmuth of Junction City.
The forerunner to the state auctioneer contest was the State Fair Bid-Calling Contest that was started in 1991 by Le Roy Van Dyke, known as the “singing auctioneer,” 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. The contest now includes interviews with the finalists.
The two most recent champions were Steve Strey of Osseo in 2015 and Dave Koning of Monroe in 2014.