HARRISBURG, Pa. – Randy Benton of Greensburg, Westmoreland County, was recently given the title of “Grand champion Bid Caller” at the 85th Pennsylvania State Farm Show.
The Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association welcomed 35 professional auctioneer contestants from across the state to participate in the bid calling contest and benefit auction from which a portion of the proceeds go to the Pa. Farm Show Scholarship Fund.
Each contestant was allowed three minutes to auction off two items. After the first round, 10 finalists were selected to auction off two additional items in a three-minute time limit per contestant.
The finalists were then awarded first through 10th places and were given engraved gavels. In addition to the gavels, the reserve and grand champions were presented plaques, and the grand champion was provided with a $200 prize.
The judging for the contest was based on the following categories: speech and bid calling ability; salesmanship; microphone ability; and appearance.
The finalists, in order of their placing were as follows: grand champion, Randy Benton of Greensburg, Westmoreland County; Tim Rocco of Erie, Erie County, reserve champion; Russel Wolf, Jr., of Lebanon, Lebanon County, third place; Eric Lafever of Quarryville, Lancaster County, fourth place; Larry Neuhauser of Lancaster, Lancaster County, fifth place; Matt Hurley of Waynesboro, Franklin County, sixth place; Michael Martin of New Holland, Lancaster County, seventh place; Ray Knecht of Bloomsburg, Columbia County, eighth place; Patrick Burke of Meshoppen, Wyoming County, ninth place; and Jim Young of Dewart, Northumberland County, 10th place.
The grand champion, Benton, graduated from the Pennsylvania School of Auctioneering in Shiremanstown in 1980. He became interested in auctioneering at the age of 8 after attending auctions as a child.
After the competition, Benton stated the title was “overwhelming,” but he was pleased to receive the honor.
Throughout the competition, special auctions, which benefited the Farm Show Scholarship Fund and St. Jude’s Hospital, were held. Among the items auctioned off was the first Farm Show patch and pin in the series and the first-place winner of the Christmas tree ornament contest.