BILLINGS, Mont. – The annual Montana Auctioneers Association (MAA) annual convention features auction tools for auctioneers, along with an expert bid-calling contest that the public can participate in.

The 2020 MAA convention will be held from Friday, Jan. 24 to Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.

On Thursday, Jan. 24, the MAA will have its annual meeting, where officers are elected.

MAA director J.K. Kinsey of Kinsey Auctioneers and Real Estate in Baker, said he always receives valuable information during the educational seminars at the convention that help him assist his customers, which includes many farmers and ranchers.

“I’m excited and looking forward to the convention,” Kinsey said. “I always enjoy meeting and talking with the other auctioneers there, and we always have great educational opportunities at the convention.”

Montana auctioneers gather at the annual convention to hone and test their skills, and the public is invited to come to the bid-calling championship, where pros and new auctioneers compete for awards.

MAA Bid-Calling Competition

The MAA Bid Calling Competition Championship is set for Friday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Each year, the public is able to bid on real items, while they watch the best auctioneers in the state showcase their auction skills.

“The Bid-Call Championship always has some tough competition and showcases some great talent,” Kinsey said.

There are more than 100 merchandise items that are brought in for the Bid-Calling Championship, which range from collectors’ items such as cowboy merchandise, artwork, décor, western items, to memorabilia and other high-quality items.

Auctioneers will be divided into two groups for the Bid-Calling Championship – a Pro Division and a Rookie Division.

Both divisions will be judged by a panel of judges that will score presentation, voice clarity, rhythm and chant, as well as sales expertise and being comfortable with the crowd, among other categories.

Auctioning at the State Capitol

Kinsey demonstrated what auctioneers do when he auctioned off a Montana state flag and a U.S. flag at the Montana State Capitol during the Montana Auctioneers Association Day last spring. It raised $3,100 and benefitted Jack Raciot, a Legislative staff member, who was paralyzed in an accident.

“I was representing all of our state auctioneers at the Capitol, trying to demonstrate what an auction can do and how important our industry is,” Kinsey said. “The State Legislators said I was the first auctioneer they had ever had at the Capitol. They gave me a standing ovation, and it was pretty emotional.”

Kinsey talked about how he and other auctioneers help agriculture.

“We have the ability to sell ag assets, such as land, equipment and livestock, and sell it at true market value,” he said. That doesn’t always happen when producers try to sell their items by themselves in their own timeframe.

“They don’t know for sure when their farm equipment or other assets will actually sell,” he said.

Kinsey said while there has been a decline in farm equipment and cattle prices, an auction is able to give a producer the best chance of getting a better price for their assets.

For ag producers interested in Kinsey’s Ag Marketplace Spring 2020, from Feb. 1-18 in Baker, see www.kinseyauction.com.

Learning about social media marketing

At the convention, there will be a presentation by Cougar Louviere on “Facebook Advertising and Personal Brand Marketing” at the convention.

Kinsey said social media platforms are important to today’s auction businesses. It is a good way to let people know what you do and how you can help them, while being a valued part of the community.

“We will be learning about expanding our social media, along with education classes that always provide a wealth of information and new ideas that can help us and all our customers,” Kinsey said.

Auctions conducted using online bidding platforms have proven to be a strong addition to the auction industry over the past few years, and that will also be part of the education at the convention.

As always, the MAA will have a speaker from the National Auctioneer’s Association (NAA) to give a different perspective on auctioneering.

The NAA featured speaker for 2020 is Peter D. Gehres, an auctioneer for RES Auction Services in Columbus, Ohio. He is the 2015 NAA International Auctioneer Champion and a six-time state and regional auctioneer champion.

The third annual Marketing Competition will take place during the conference, with the categories: Color Brochure/Poster, Postcard, Black and White Ad, Company Brochure/Booklet and Website. 

Auctioneers enjoy participating and winning in the many fun and educational events.

There will be many new and innovative tools at the convention to help auctioneers provide fresh and up-to-date services to their customers.

The Montana Auctioneers Association was founded in 1961-1962 by a small group of state auctioneers. The purpose of the association was to aid member auctioneers to improve auctioneering skills and to grow in the auction profession.

The MAA annual awards banquet will close the convention. It will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, beginning with a social hour at 5:30 p.m.

For more on the MAA convention, see https://www.montanaauctioneers.org.

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