Auctioneers Celebrate the 64th Annual International Auctioneers Conference & Show!

July 21, 2013

Each year, auctioneers from all over the world descend upon a chosen destination to celebrate the auction profession during the National Auctioneers Association’s International Conference & Show – a five-day educational and networking event, rich in history.  This year’s Conference & Show was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and throughout the week, Indianapolis was home to a bounty NAA c&s logoof continuing education classes, networking, fellowship, and the beloved International Auctioneer Championship -the largest bid-calling championship in the world and, the premier showcase of auction talent, hosted annually by the National Auctioneers Association. 

This year, ONE-HUNDRED AUCTIONEERS from all across the globe competed for the

prestigious title of International Auctioneer Champion, and the talent that graced the stage

iac womens

2013 IAC Women’s Division Finalists!

throughout this day-long event was phenomenal!  Auctioneers from across the globe, focusing on every facet of the auction industry, were amongst the contenders, and were joined by a panel of highly accredited and esteemed judges, who through a thorough process, evaluated each contestant on a host of criteria, including their chant, clarity, audience interaction, and poise. For those contestants that made it to the celebrated FINALS round of the IAC, each contestant took to the stage, one at a time, surrounded by hundreds of their industry peers, and were evaluated during an interview portion of the competition, as three auction industry questions were posed to each contestant independently, thereafter,  catapulting each contestant into a final round of bid calling before the final scores were tallied and our new IAC Champions were inducted into this iconic and celebrated circle.  With baited breath, hundreds upon hundreds of auctioneers waited in the audience for this year’s champions to be announced, as past IAC Champions formed a receiving line to congratulate each contestant after they exited the stage, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the International Auctioneer Championship!

International Auctioneer Champions celebrating 25 years of the IAC Competition!

International Auctioneer Champions in both the Men’s & Women’s Divisions, celebrate 25 years of the IAC Competition!

The energy in the room was palpable, and emotions were running high, as our 2013 IAC Champions were inducted into this prestigious circle – Megan McCurdy, of Wichita, Kansas, and Andy White, of Ashland, Ohio!

Megan McCurdy, 2013 IAC Champion!

Megan McCurdy, 2013 IAC Champion!

My heart-felt congratualtions to them both as they embark upon one phenomenally memorable, and life changing year serving as ambassadors for the National Auctioneers Association!

International Auctioneer Championship {Photo by 2013 IAC Champion, Andy White}

International Auctioneer Championship {Photo by 2013 IAC Champion, Andy White}

As a second-generation auctioneer, I have had the fortune of attending this celebrated conference since I was eighteen years old.  After that first Conference & Show, my Dad, Randy Wells realized how essential it was to attend this annual gathering, learning from others, and always striving to give back to an industry in which he loves. Seventeen years later, my Dad, now a past president of the National Auctioneers Association, and I, a past International Auctioneer Champion from 2005 (watch the YouTube Video here – my word I look young!), continue to find that membership in the National Auctioneers Association, and attendance and at this annual event is not only an incredible asset to strengthening the foundation of our respective professions and our industry as a whole, but attending this annual event also provides auctioneers from all over the world with an opportunity to build incredible friendships and strong alliances. Not to mention, it’s one of the few industries in which children and families are encouraged to attend together! First, second, third, fourth, and even fifth generation auctioneers gathering with their immediate and extended family and friends, celebrating industry partnerships and treasured friendships that have spanned lifetimes.

My daughter, Wrenne Larue at her 3rd Conference & Show!

My daughter, Wrenne Larue at her 3rd Conference & Show!

My daughter, Wrenne Larue attened her third Conference & Show this year, alongside my family and I. Whether or not she chooses to be involved in this profession in the future remains to be seen, but regardless, it was exciting to have three generations of our auction family represented again this year!  Though she possesses a sweet bashful spirit, she was excited to see all of the action unfolding throughout the week, as kiddos ranging in age from toddlers to teens engaged in all things auction throughout the week! In fact, the attendance of children and families is so encouraged, that the NAA hosts an annual Children’s FUN Auction, allowing kiddos of all ages, and bid calling experience, to take the stage and drop the hammer with an auction chant! Joined by past International Auctioneer Champions, and the current International Auctioneer Champions, these children pick out a variety of donated toys, and take the stage, hand in hand with an IAC Champion, and give the audience a run for their money as they unleash their auction chant in whatever way they’re comfortable. Their parents of course, bidding wildly in support of their child’s efforts and courage to take the stage with microphone in hand, and roll out their best bid call! Each dollar raised, going directly to the NAA Foundation, it is hands down my favorite part of the conference! An opportunity to cheer on the next generation of auctioneers, and celebrate this profession that we love!

The 2013 IAC Men's Division Champion, Andy White, with my little pal, Jacob Massart during the Children's Fun Auction!

The 2013 IAC Men’s Division Champion, Andy White, with my little pal, Jacob Massart during the Children’s Fun Auction!


Chance Encounters…

July 1, 2013

While en route to the BA360 office this morning, I stopped in at one of my favorite haunts next door – Food In Bloom Cafe for my “usual order”. Food & Bloom Cafe Though this locale isn’t the stomping grounds for the cast of Cheers, at Food & Bloom, everyone knows your name, the food is delicious, and on most occasions, you’re guaranteed to run into a familiar face or a treasured friend, and today’s chance encountering was a sweet surprise, and transported me back in time, when I saw the sweet, smiling face of Jensine Larsen, Founder & CEO of World Pulse. Jensine Larsen




In 2005, I had been a professional fundraising auctioneer & consultant for two years, and was just launching my own company, Benefit Auctions 360. It was at this time that I met this incredible woman, Jensine Larsen, whom had just launched a nonprofit media organization in order to present an inspiring and innovative magazine called, World Pulse.

Equipped with years of experience as a young journalist in Burma and the Amazon, Jensine Larsen discovered that some of the world’s most important stories are rarely mentioned in the mass media. So she began a quest to create a media source that would bring the vital, yet untapped, voices and solutions of women and youth to the world stage, and in doing so, the premiere issue of World Pulse Magazine debuted in 2004. Thousands of individuals and grassroots organizations took notice. Newsstand sales were double the average for new publications and the magazine was nominated for “Best International Coverage” and “Best New Title” of 2004 and 2005 by the Independent Press Awards. world pulse 2

When I first met Jensine, momentum was building behind both of our projects. The launch of her “bold and beautiful new magazine, one that would cut to the heart of global problems through the eyes of women and highlight solutions already underway” (World Pulse), and the launch of my company, Benefit Auctions 360, which was led by a passionate driving force to assist Nonprofit Organizations in their fundraising efforts, allowing them to better our communities and inspire other agents of change along the way.

My want and need to support Nonprofit’s in their fundraising efforts was infused with Anne Frank’s timeless message, “How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world,” and when I met Jensine, I immediately wanted to join her grassroots efforts to empower women through her then new media platform, because this beautiful, heartfelt, and remarkably intelligent woman was certainly not waiting a single moment before beginning to improve the world.

So it was then, shortly after the birth of my company and the arrival of World Pulse, that Jensine Larsen, Jessica Tomforde, and myself set forth for Colorado for a seed funding tour. Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that though unbeknownst to us at the time, we were part of an inaugural crowdfunding campaign.  At sold-out luncheons, Jensine spoke to captive audiences, whom were eager and honored to take part in supporting this new media platform. Bunking with friends and donors along the way, we traversed through Colorado together, collectively experiencing the beauty and powerful potential of what World Pulse was becoming thanks in part to Jensine’s vision, and the bounty of support shown by each and every donor and enthusiastic voice along the way.

I look back on that time fondly, and seeing Jensine today made me smile, pause and reflect on the phenomenal impact that she has made on women throughout the world – an action media network now powered by women from 190 countries, lifting and uniting women’s voices to accelerate their impact for the world. A platform for change, a sanctuary for those who have been silent, created by one woman who recognized that she need not wait a single minute before improving the world.