Sold! Manheim hosts World Auto Auctioneers Championship

By on May 17, 2017

 

Manheim’s Stiegel Glassworks 1976 created the hand-blown glass trophies the winners would take home. (Photos by Art Petrosemolo)

Manheim Pennsylvania Auto Auction is a busy place on any Friday, with an average of 8,000 vehicles sold. The pace stepped up a bit on Friday, May 12, as what is known as the world’s largest vehicle remarketing facility hosted the World Automotive Auctioneers Championship. Over 120 auctioneers from the U.S. and Canada demonstrated their best calls, vocals, and salesmanship in four of the auction’s 35 lanes.

“Nothing happens in this business until you fellows say ‘sold’,” said Paul Behr, president of the World Automotive Auctioneers Championship.

This is the first time that the event, which was founded in 1989, was hosted at the Manheim auction.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase our facility and to celebrate the auctioneers. Plus they’re actually selling vehicles, so they’re helping us out,” said Joey Hughes, Manheim Pennsylvania general manager.

“It’s fitting to hold this competition at Manheim, where modern-day auctions began in the U.S.,” Behr added.

John Stauffer, of Stauffer Auctioneers LLC, Lititz, is a second generation auctioneer who’s been in the industry for 16 years.

Manheim Pennsylvania Auto Auction, 1190 Lancaster Road, Manheim, was founded in 1945. Three vehicles were sold in one lane on its first sale day. Today it encompasses 400-acres and employs 1,600 team members. About 70 auctioneers present more than 500,000 vehicles annually at this location.

Auctioneers and ringmen demonstrated their skills to the judges as they sold vehicles in the lanes designated for the competition. The 12 judges represented various areas of the automotive and auction industry and included Grace Huang, senior vice president of Manheim Inventory Services. To come out on top in the competition, challengers had to stand out in their presentation, chant, voice quality, salesmanship and other performance elements of effective auctioneering. Contestants were also judged on their ability to interact and communicate with bidders and buyers.

Two area competitors, Toby Clemens and John Stauffer, were among those seeking champion status and hoping to take home one of the 58 trophies featuring hand-blown glass crafted by the artisans at Manheim’s Stiegel Glassworks 1976.

John Stauffer (left), of Lititz, and Toby Clemens, an auctioneer at Manheim Auto Auction, were among those seeking champion status.

An auctioneer at Manheim Pennsylvania, Clemens went to auctioneering school at age 19 and then started working at the auction as a ringman 24 years ago. He said that he decided to go into the auctioneering field since his family is involved in both the car business and auctions.

“I knew since high school that I wanted to be an auctioneer,” he said, “Not only is this competition in our local market, but I’ll be competing with some of my friends; auctioneers are a tight-knit group, but we don’t see each other often.”

Stauffer, of Stauffer Auctioneers LLC, Lititz, is a second generation auctioneer who’s been in the industry for 16 years. He said that he was born and raised in the area and sometimes fills in at the Manheim Auto Auction. This was the first time he’s competed in the championships and said that he looked at the competition as a chance to improve his skills.

“I want improve myself and my calling to hopefully become a fulltime auctioneer at Manheim PA,” he said. “Calling at Manheim PA means you are working at the pinnacle of the business. The auctioneers that get to call fulltime at the world’s largest are the best.”

“There are no losers today; it’s a learning experience for those who compete,” Behr added.

Toby Clemens has his turn at the microphone.

The Manheim auto auction, and the Manheim area, can lay claim to three world champions — Scott Adcock and two of his sons, Michael and Charles.

“You could say that auctioneering is in our blood. It started with my dad, (Oreon) Odie, who is in his 90s,” Scott Adcock said, “Winning the championship is a big deal; it’s a feather in your cap. You do get nervous as you compete.”

Now a resident of York, he earned the champion title in 1991.

Michael Adcock, who earned the World Champion title in 2009, added that his grandfather, Odie, was the third auctioneer hired at Manheim.

It runs in the family. Michael, Scott, and Charles Adcock, are all former World Champions.

“This auction is special to us; we have a really large buyer base,” the York resident said. “We’ve looked forward to this event for years,” Charlie Adcock said adding that he likes saying “sold.”

Michael Adcock has been one of the Manheim auction’s auctioneers for 11 years, while Charlie, who lives in Newtown, has been with the auction for 24 years. He took home the championship title in 2010.

Unfortunately neither Clemens nor Stauffer took home honors this year. After the last gavel was struck, the top honor of World Automobile Auctioneer Champion went to Andy White from Ashland, Ohio. Taking home the 2017 WAAC Ringman title was Dallas Massey from Starkville, Miss.; while Woody Woodruff from Tennessee and Ben Gunter from Alabama were named Team Champions.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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