Saturday, September 4th is the grand finale of Open Field summer programming and it’s also the conclusion of the month-long residency project, “A People Without a Voice Cannot Be Heard” led by the San Francisco-based art collective, Futurefarmers, and a core group of local art school students. Together they have been exploring the topic of “voice” in a myriad of ways. For their final project they have brought in a professional father-son team of auctioneers, Glen and Dale Fladeboe of Fladeboe Auctions to lead a public auction that anyone can participate in, on Saturday September 4th at 1 pm on the Open Field. Click here to find out how you can get involved.
Read on for an interview with Glen about the auctioneering world!
What led your father, and then you and your siblings to get involved in auctioneering?
My dad became an auctioneer in 1978 to supplement his income while he continued to be a farmer. As to my sisters and I all becoming involved, we all grew up in the business , helped with the business in high school, and upon graduating from college we all continued to love the business and believed we could succeed as second generation owners.
Did you attend many auctions as a child, and if so, what impression did they have on you?
I attended hundreds of auctions as a child. Contrary to many public impressions about farm auctions or sadness in selling a family farm, by far most auctions were a very joyful, community event that in many ways was a celebration of the farmers life.
At what age did you know you wanted to become an auctioneer?
At age 18 I decided to go to auction school in the summer after graduating from high school, and before I attend my first year of college at Hamline University.
Where did you receive your training, and can you explain a little about what goes into this training?
I attended the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. The class is two weeks long and spends half the day teaching people the “auction chant,” or how to speak quickly when auctioneering, and the remaining time is spent on how to build or grow an auction business.
What types of auctions are you typically involved with?
Our company specializes in conducting benefit auctions for non-profit organizations, and selling farm land through real estate auctions.
Does the way you use your voice change according to the type of auction, i.e. a cattle auction vs. an art auction?
Yes, at a black tie fundraising auction in Minneapolis you are auctioneering much slower, with more time for jokes and humor than a typical farm auction where you need to sell hundreds or thousands of items in a few hours.
What kind of preparation goes into leading an auction?
For our non-profit clients the key to preparation is deciding the right live auction items and more importantly, how they will tell the story of why supporting the non-profit – in the form of bidding or pledging money – will make the community a better place. As to our other auctions, the main key is marketing the merchandise so the public is aware of the auction and the value of the merchandise.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever auctioned off?
At a charity event I once auctioned off a chance to go to a tattoo parlor and get the tattoo of your choice.
What’s the highest bid you’ve ever received, and what was it for?
I sold a yellow puppy for $60,000 to benefit Cystic Fibrosis.
What’s the biggest challenge and biggest joy of auctioneering?
The biggest challenge in auctioneering, unlike singing or another form of public performance, is that auctioneering requires the audience to communicate back to you, in the form or bidding or spending their money. At the end of the day, we are always asking for money from people, and that is difficult because you cannot always control if the audience has any interest in the items you are selling.
The biggest joy in auctioneering is the difference we have made for all our clients who rely on the revenue to keep their doors open, and continue serving Minnesotans through wonderful non-profit work.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into this profession?
Focus on being a people person, treating the audience and the community well, and communicate in ways that you can build likability and trust with your audiences.
What are you most looking forward to about the auction with Futurefarmers on September 4th?
I am looking forward to sharing a little “auction experience” with some children and adults who may not have had the chance to attend an auction. For many Minnesotans, attending an auction brings back old memories of day with your grandpa or your dad, and hopefully this opportunity will excite others about the rich heritage or diversity of our state.