Auctioneers group names best in state at San Marcos competition

Auctioneers from throughout Texas gathered June 13–17 in San Marcos for the annual Texas Auctioneers Association Convention. Their goal was to name the best auctioneers in the state.

The highlights of the convention were the competitions in the Senior, Rookie and Ringman divisions and a State Champion event.

The Senior competition featured auctioneers age 55 or older. The Rookie competition required the auctioneer to have been licensed and involved in the industry for two years or fewer.

Competitions were fast-paced, high-energy and loud.

The Ringman competition, won last year by Traci Yeaman, featured an auctioneer who attempts to incite bids from the audience while another auctioneer does the bid calling.

"[Ringmen] are the people who are up there encouraging the audience to bid and catching the bids," Yeaman said.

Ringmen are not allowed to use a microphone, so a clear, strong voice is key for success in the position. Their calls filled the conference room where the crowd bid on items such as handmade jewelry, camping gear and artwork.

Yeaman's father, Shorty, is a former Senior Division champion as well as a past president of the TAA. Her brother competed in the Ringman Division this year with Shorty doing the bid calling for his son.

Kelly McDaniel graduated from auctioneer school in September and was competing in his first statewide contest. He admitted to being nervous in front of his peers and judges.

"But everybody's like family," McDaniel said. "I've never seen an industry like that where they'll help each other [so much]."

The State Champion competition features any licensed Texas auctioneer and draws the most competitors every year. The 2011 Texas Champion Auctioneer, Angie Meier, announced the division contestants.

The convention also offered auctioneers the chance to attend programs that count toward their continuing education. Auctioneers are required to renew their licenses by attending classes yearly to keep them up to date with the changes in the auction industry.

The 2012 Texas Champion Auctioneer title was won by Clay Golden, who has competed in the State Champion competition six times prior to his win. He emerged as the winner after placing in the top five in his five previous State Champion appearances.

This year's Rookie Division was won by Audri Muirhead. The Senior Division winner was Mack Cornett, and the Ringman champion was Tom Lester.

Golden advanced to the State Champion auctioneer semifinals June 16 along with nine other contestants.

Competitors were interviewed by Meier, with five finalists advancing to the live competition at the June 16 banquet.

The five finalists each auctioned three items and were judged on poise, speed and rhythm, clarity, voice control and appearance.