Jim Gavin wins auctioneer event at WI State Fair

Gloria Hafemeister


Following a 25-year tradition, the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association held their bidding competition at the Wisconsin State Fair with competitors selling items at the bona fide auction in the Coliseum.

Jim Gavin, Reesburg, emerged as the winner in the event, as determined by judges Mary Jo Hill, Tomah; Jim Huff, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; Cody Lowderman, Macomb, IL.; Carol Miller, Oconomowoc; and Isaac Schultz, Upsala, Minnesota.

The event began at 1 p.m. with a preliminary round, with the six finalists competing again at 4 p.m.

The 12 finalists at the event were chosen during the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association Convention from a field of 22 contestants. The semifinalists competing at State Fair included Joe Mellem, Mark Oberholtzer, Christopher Sund, Randy Stockwell, Jeremy Schafer, Robert Helmuth, Bryce Hansen, Raymond Henry, Jim Gavin, David Allen, Kendall Thiel and Damien Massart.

Gavin, the runner-up in last year’s competition, has been with Gavin Brothers Auctioneers since 2006. He is a graduate of the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. He is a fourth-generation auctioneer with Gavin Brothers that has been in the auction and real estate business for over 60 years. The company conducts over 125 auctions a year and specializes in farm, heavy equipment, real estate, antique and estate sales.

Jim Gavin, Reedsburg, the runner up in last year’s Wisconsin Champion Auctioneer Contest at Wisconsin State Fair, was the winner of this year’s competition. Gavin and other competitors sold items at the bona fide auction at State Fair as a part of the state competition.

Long history

The forerunner to this contest was the State Fair Bid Calling Contest, started in 1991 by “singing auctioneer” LeRoy Van Dyke and the late Roy D. 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 the finalists.

Items lined the table as auctioneers demonstrated their skills selling them to bidders in the audience at Wisconsin State Fair.