The Auctioneer Contest Trail

One of the biggest fears to mankind is the fear of dying; many others say a close second is public speaking.  Every day people talk to their friends/significant others, even in small groups – but take that same person and tell them they have to stand on stage in front of many people and the nerves take over – people start sweating, their voice crackles and the absolute fear of even taking another step will probably result in a feeling worse than death.

While attending West Central middle/High school, many would have said Daren Anderson, a rural Hartford resident, was very shy – sure he could greet everyone in the morning, talk to his friends and teachers, but the mere thought of talking to a large group of people would have been the furthest thing from his mind.  After graduation, this fear continued until one of his first jobs, where his boss would do all of the sales, and he was responsible for all the programming and support – some of the fear would start to dissipate.  However, it was definitely still there until he started Big D Technology Solutions and joined the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber where he became a Diplomat and would speak in front of small to very large groups of people at ribbon cuttings.  In 2014, he started giving history presentations on Fenn’s Bros., an old candy company, where his father worked – the first presentation garnered over 230 participants – there was no going back to being the shy, introverted person now.

In October of 2021, Daren stepped out of his comfort zone again by attending and graduating from the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa.  Every state has an Auctioneers Association and there is an National Association as well – after graduation, Daren joined the National Association, SD, IA, MN, WY, and NE Associations because he knew it was important to get his name out there.  Most of these Associations have yearly conventions as well as an auctioneer competition.  If you think public speaking is bad – enter the world of professional and rookie contests – not only are you doing a form of public speaking but you are doing it in front of complete strangers and your peers, as well as the judges.  No matter how many times, men and woman have done this, there are beads of sweat forming, hand wringing, nail biting, and general fear before they take the stage, sell a few items, and then wait for the results.

One of the first conventions in the new year was the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association to take place in Rochester, MN on January 13-15.  When one graduates from auction school, the instructors highly recommend to go and listen to many auctioneers.  In having this thought, Daren thought he would go watch the competition but as it turned out, the powers that be in Minnesota encouraged him to enter the Rookie contest – these particular contests are for people who have just graduated auction school and have less than two years (in most cases) in their auction business.  The contest participants were required to bring three items to “sell” to the audience ranging in cost from $1 to $50.  Everyone draws numbers for their place in the competition and as you watch and wait for your five minutes of fame, you can listen to the other auctioneers and hope to pick up something you can use.  The judges use a standard judging sheet critiquing you on presentation, chant/voice, effective auctioneering (body language, article description, etc) and then can add comments. 

One thing a person learns from the very first time you walk into that room – these may be people who are judging you on your skills, chant, but it is a very different kind of contest – sure it’s a competion – but it’s a competion where everyone is encouraging each other – they all know how hard it is to even to want to participate in a contest like this – standing in front of your peers and maybe trying it for the first time, or even five times.  The real prize is not a belt buckle/trophy/plaque you have a chance to win – it is networking with others and learning on how you can get better at what you do.  The comments received – “great job”, “keep practicing”, “proud of you for trying”, “work on chant’ – every thing was encouraging and making you want to get better. 

After networking with a good friend/established auctioneer, he encouraged Daren to go to another convention – this time in Des Moines, IA on February 3-5 – again, the same kind of commadiere ensued, and more networking/comments were given.  As stated before, its not the competition a person should take away – it’s the people you meet and how you can encourage and help each other in this whole big world of auctioneering, or whatever field that will make you step out of your comfort zone.

For more information on Daren and his company Big D Auctions, Inc; he can be reached at (605) 306-3513,, (undergoing a revitalization) – they specialize in online and in-person auctions, estates, and antiques.

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