The auctioneer’s role is often mistaken by the great unwashed as a lot of unintelligible babble, but for one Barrhead-area man with ties to Westlock it’s held a lifelong allure.
Ben Kellert’s love of auctioneering led him to Lethbridge on Feb. 4-5 for the 77th annual Auctioneers’ Association of Alberta convention. It also helped that he serves on the board of directors of the AAA.
The weekend included two competitions for different levels of auctioneers.
On Feb. 4, auctioneers with two or fewer years of experience competed at selling a variety of items.
The biggest event was on Feb. 5, however, when Kellert and 20 other auctioneers from Alberta and Saskatchewan battled for the title in the Canadian All Around Championship.
“They opened it up to all across Canada, but only auctioneers from Alberta and Saskatchewan showed up,” he said.
The competition was simple. All 21 competitors would sell five items. Then the five auctioneers with the top scores would sell another five items. The best seller was declared the winner.
“I’m not sure where I fared in there, but it was just a great experience,” he said. “I’ve never done a competition before like that.”
That being said, he did say he was the Alberta champion for new auctioneers in 2008.
In addition, all the money raised through selling the myriad of items was donated to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
All told, there were 125 auctioneers present at the convention.
Kellert was first introduced to auctioneering when he was a child living on a farm.
“I was born and raised on a farm, and my dad took me to the auctions all the time,” he said. “I fell in love with the chant of the auctioneer.”
He said from that young age, it was always something he wanted to do, but it took him years to finally act on that desire.
In 2006, Kellert saw an ad for the Western Canadian School of Auctioneering, and decided to take the plunge.
“I looked at the ad and I thought, ‘You know what? If I don’t do it now, I probably never will,’” he said.
What followed was an intense 11-day, 10-hours-a-day course run by Delton Wolff that taught him all he needed to know to become an auctioneer. Since then, he has travelled all over the place, selling all manner of items.
Kellert said there are several allures to auctioneering. Besides the entire atmosphere of being at an auction, it’s an excellent way to meet new people.
Furthermore, he said many people will use auctions to divest themselves of things they no longer need. In many cases, people can get more for their items than they would get from selling them in a traditional marketplace.
Going forward, Kellert said he will continue to auctioneer because “it’s something I really enjoy doing.”