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Tiffin auctioneer to compete in championship

A Tiffin man will get the chance to compete internationally after winning the Michigan Auctioneer Championship in February.

Clayton Neal said he has competed in auction contests in the past and he won the Ohio Auctioneer Championship in the Junior Division in 2014 and has competed in other contests in Ohio.

“Last year, my friend did the Michigan (Auctioneer Championship) and said it was awesome up there and that I should come up and try it,” Neal said. “He won it last year, so I went up and competed this year.”

He said it was a great opportunity to meet with other auction professionals who do business in Michigan and the surrounding areas.

“For me it was an honor to win the contest,” Neal said. “It’s hard to get judged by your peers because if you make a mistake they all notice. It’s good to work and make yourself better and put yourself out there to be critiqued.”

The esteemed panel of judges for most contests typically include former champions or prominent business people in the auction industry, he said.

Neal will represent Michigan in July during the International Auctioneer’s Championship in Jacksonville.

“The winner of the (Michigan) contest is the representative for the state for the whole year so that’s pretty cool,” he said.

Neal said contestants are typically judged on their speed, rhythm, timing, stage presence, poise and initial command, and those that make it to the finals have to answer a few questions. At the Michigan Auctioneer’s Championship, there were three questions including one industry-related, one personal and one about the Michigan Auctioneers Association, he said.

“I practice every day,” Neal said. “You want to make sure that you are clear, concise and quick for buyers.”

He said an auctioneer’s speed differs based on what is being sold and what kind of audience it is.

“Cars, cattle, really any commodity, are settings where you experience a more rapid pace per bidding, but on real estate, or other things, those auctions are a bit slower,” Neal said.

It’s important to know the audience and know how to lead the auction accordingly, he said.

“Either way you still have to maintain an efficient speed,” Neal said. “The biggest thing is clarity and making it easy and fun for people.”

Neal, a 2013 graduate of Columbian High School, said his family has always been in the agriculture and livestock business, so he has always been around auctions. While he always thought auctions and auctioneers were cool, he never imagined himself doing it.

“When I was a senior my mom suggested it,” Neal said. “I went into it and here I am.”

After high school, he went to the Repport School of Auctioneering. In May, he is to graduate from Tiffin University with a degree in business administration.

Neal said the highest honor in auctioneering is to earn Certified Auctioneer’s Institute designation through that National Auctioneers Association hosted at the University of Indiana-Bloomington. A person must go there one week in March for three years to get certified and Neal completed the first year of this training last month.

Neal said he is looking forward to Jacksonville and the opportunity to compete again.

“It is so fun to be able to compete with your friends,” he said. “It’s just an unexplainable feeling. I get to share the stage with auctioneers from the United States and all around the world. It’s great to meet with them and see how they do things and see what things can be incorporated in our business to make it better for our clients.”

Neal’s auction business is Clayton Neal Auctioneer, and he also works with Rick Vogel Auctioneer, of Marion, he said. His auction business is brokered with Regina Vent Realty of Upper Sandusky.

Anyone who would like to see him in action can attend an auction at 4 p.m. April 24 at 355 N. Sandusky St.

Contact Neal at cnealauctioneer@gmail.com or (567) 207-7296.

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