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KIDRON, Ohio — He’s just getting started, but Real Estate Showcase Auctioneer James Mast is on a good path.
Mast, who lives between Kidron and Orrville in Wayne County, won the junior bid call contest July 30 at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.
He’s finishing his one-year apprentice under the direction of Real Estate Showcase Auctioneer Joseph Mast, who last year won the International Auctioneering Competition.
The award helps provide business “name recognition,” he said, and also is a great learning experience.
“The competition is to get better,” he said. “All the auctioneers are competing against each other and help each other get better.”
James Mast, 25, is married to Lena Mast, and his main job is forklift operator at the next-door pallet company — Specialty Pallet.
He helps auction in the evenings and on Saturdays, while continuing to learn the ropes and grow his business.
During the contest, he was asked what the best advice was he ever received about auctions. He said it’s to sell with “clarity.”
Although many buyers are familiar with his voice — he said there’s always some who are not — and it’s important they hear the bids clearly so they can participate in the sale.
The two Masts are not related, but James Mast said he’s proud to have trained under such a well-respected auctioneer. James said he was a little nervous selling with Joseph at first — himself an international champion.
“He (Joseph) was a world champion auctioneer and I’m doing my first sale as an apprentice and obviously I had the jitters,” James said. “But once you get up there and sell for five or ten minutes and things go well and you get the oxygen rolling, things kind of settle down a little bit.”
Keeping busy. James said a big key do doing well is continuous practice. If he takes too long a break between auctions, he said its harder to get re-adjusted and he loses his flow.
Before selling to a live audience James practiced selling to himself and said some guys even sell to farm animals. But there’s a big difference with real people, he said half-jokingly.
“Everybody can sell to the cows or whatever but once you get up and there’s four or five-hundred people watching you, that’s when it’s the big time,” he said.
James did his two-week auction school at World Widecq College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa.
He’ll be completing his apprenticeship the end of August and hopes to take his state auctioneer’s test by October.
James said he’s selling a little bit of everything now — with the help of Joseph Mast, but said he’d like to eventually focus on horses and real estate.
James received a trophy for winning the division and the company recognition that goes with the honor.
Lena said it’s been “an exciting experience,” and added she now looks at him a little differently when he’s selling — with more respect.
He said competitions can be a sensitive issue in the Amish community, but said this one is about learning from each other and helping each auctioneer get better.
“I simply do it to improve, to get better, and to challenge myself,” he said. “It does make you better.”