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By Erin Schwager

Local auctioneer proves he's king in the ring during competition


August 11, 2022

Courtesy Photo

Reserve champ • Corey Curtis, of Royal, receives the Nebraska Auctioneer Association reserve champion award during the July 31 contest held in Aurora. Curtis has been an auctioneer for more than 20 years.

Corey Curtis is the master of the cattle rattle. He's cornered the market on the auction cry.

And, he has the hardware to prove it.

Curtis, of Royal, along with his wife, Tanya, and daughter, Christen, traveled to the Hamilton County Fairgrounds, in Aurora, July 31, for the 2022 Nebraska Auctioneers Association auctioneer championship contest. Curtis earned the reserve champion title.

Curtis has been an auctioneer for around 22 to 23 years.

"My dad was the one that kind of talked me into going into auction school and to pursue it," Curtis said.

He attended the Missouri Auction School in Saint Joseph, Missouri. After that he began an auctioning business, Corey Curtis Auction Service and Livestock Order Buying, with his father.

"I guess it was probably a joint venture with dad and myself."

Although he had competed in auctioneer contests before, it had been several years ago. He said he enjoyed competing and seeing how other people run auctions as well.

"...Those auction contests are always a good learning experience," he said. "You go and you know, there were 18 auctioneers who competed, including myself, so you can always, you know, listen to other people and try and learn something to try and get better."

The Nebraska Auctioneer

Association has held the competition since 1985. In order to compete in a Nebraska Auctioneers Association auction, membership is required. At 1 p.m., participants began drawing numbers to see what order they would compete in for the preliminary round. Curtis drew 14 out of 18 contestants. The auction began at 2 p.m.

"We (contestants) had to take two items to donate of $25 or greater value, and then they (NeAA) had an item there to sell, and it's an actual auction," he said. "There's people in the crowd with buyer numbers and they have to pay for what they buy."

"There's always a level of nervousness, you're up on stage," he said. "You know, you're competing against some pretty good competition."

The finalists had to draw for position in the final round. They were taken to a different building where they had to come on stage individually again, introduce themselves and answer three questions relating to the auction business. All of the finalists were sequestered, so they did not have time to know the questions or to think about them before answering.

After the Q and A, contestants had to sell three more items the auction association provided. Curtis had to sell a little USA cooler, a wooden John Deere carving and a John Deere toy set that included a truck and a combine.

"I just felt more comfortable in the finals and the John Deere sign brought decent money, so I just got to sell a little longer on that," Curtis said.

After the 10 finalists sold the final three items, several past state champions sold a few more pieces to pass the time while the results were tabulated.

Around 5 p.m., Curtis was awarded reserve champion of the bid-calling contest. He received a plaque and an invitation to the mid-winter convention in Grand Island, where he will receive a $100 NeAA membership renewal for the following year plus a $650 check.

When asked if Curtis plans to compete in more contests in the future, he responded with "Ya, I think so. It was fun. Like I said, it is always a learning experience, so I plan to."

Curtis said he enjoys working livestock auctions the most. He works at the sale barns in Elgin, Albion and Verdigre on a regular basis, along with auctioneering in the Atkinson and Valentine sale barns part time.

"Livestock is probably the most fun to sell," Curtis said.

Curtis donated a John Deere toy tractor and a lawn chair to be auctioned.

When it was

each individual

auctioneers turn, they had to go on stage, introduce themselves and sell three items. In addition to the two Curtis provided, he also auctioned a wooden domino game the NeAA supplied. Contestants were judged on appearance and poise, introduction and command, salesmanship, eye contact, body language and crowd survey, along with chant, clarity speed and rhythm.

The three judges were all past state champions.

After all auctioneers sold the three items, the ringman contest took place while judges tallied the score cards and advanced the top 10 competitors to the final round.


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