A Plant Grows Near the 'Burgh

World’s Best Junior Auctioneers Attend Ritchie Bros. Sale

Tue November 20, 2007 - National Edition
CEG



The world’s three top junior auctioneers got a close-up look at how their professional counterparts get the job done Nov. 14 in Newnan, Ga.

Ritchie Bros. hosted Trev Moravec, 19, of David City, Neb.; Jonathan Kraft, 20, of Hobart, Ind.; and Dustin Rogers, 21, of Mount Airy, N.C.

They were the top three finishers at the International Junior Auctioneer Championship in July in San Diego. It is organized by the National Auctioneer Association (NAA), which represents nearly 6,000 auctioneers.

“Auctioneering is a unique career path, yet not an obvious choice for high school students today,” said Rob Whitsit, senior vice president of Ritchie Bros. and a member of the NAA board of directors. “It can be a rewarding and a very lucrative career for those who like to work hard, travel and have a lot of fun.”

During their day at the Ritchie Bros. auction, the junior auctioneers met their more experienced counterparts and were given the chance to job shadow. Company officials also met with them to discuss various ways the industry can better attract young auctioneers.

Growing Up in the Biz

Moravec, the first-place winner of the 2007 championship, has been a part of the auction world since the age of 5. His parents never wanted to get a babysitter, so he always attended the sales run by his parents’ auction company. His father encouraged him to follow in his footsteps.

Moravec is now an “official” auctioneer in the family business, Moravec Auction Company in David City, Neb.

“I love selling,” he said. “I wouldn’t do anything else. I think it’s what I was meant to do. When you look forward to going to work every day, you know you’re doing something right.”

In addition to his international championship, Moravec also holds the title of the 2007 Nebraska State Champion. Even his competitors admit he’s the best.

“Trevor is the best young car auctioneer in the country,” said Kraft, who placed second.

Moravec received his auctioneer training at World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. He thinks that if a young person is a good public speaker and a people person, auctioneering is a career path to consider.

Kraft, of Hobart, Iowa, is a second-generation auctioneer and already has accomplished many of his career goals. His parents, Conrad and Tammy Kraft, are the founders of Kraft Auction Service, a firm established in 1976 in northwest Indiana.

“I’ve been an auctioneer around the house ever since I was just little walking around with my little karaoke machine selling to invisible bidders,” Kraft said. “But I’ve been licensed since I was 19.”

After graduating from World Wide College, he went on to become the lead auctioneer at his family’s company, where he specializes in real estate and antique auctions. Kraft’s resume also includes work for Kruse International, where he auctioned collector cars.

“It’s a really fun and entertaining profession,” Kraft said. “It’s always changing from week to week — you see a different area, different people, different items every time. And at these collector car auctions, you get to see some of the richest people and some of the best cars in the world.”

In addition to all of that, Kraft is majoring in management and accounting at Purdue University, where he’s carrying a 3.89 GPA. And that’s where he gets a lot of practice done.

“When I’m in class and bored, I’ll just quietly work on practicing my rhythm. I’ll also practice on an empty elevator or if I’m just sitting at my computer — any chance I get,” he said.

The third place winner, Rogers is following in the footsteps of both his father, Mark, and grandfather, Bracky, who founded Rogers Realty & Auction Co. Mark Rogers is currently the NAA treasurer and Bracky Rogers is a past president. The family knew early on that Rogers was interested in becoming an auctioneer. “My parents have tapes of me when I was less than 3 years old auctioning my toy tractors on the floor,” Rogers said.

Rogers graduated from the Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in High Point, N.C., in August 2004 and was named “Best All Around” in his class. He was named Champion Rookie Auctioneer for the Auctioneers Association of North Carolina and is licensed in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Rogers is enrolled in online classes at Tri State University in Indiana, where he is pursuing a degree in auctioneering.

“My goal is to be the best bid caller I can be, as well as the best businessman,” he said.

For more information, please visit www.rbauction.com.