Jim Hemig: The fair is back!
There is a right way and a wrong way to participate in a live auction.
To the delight of master auctioneer, John Renwick, my wife and I discovered the wrong way.
Last year at the Nevada County Fair FFA Ag Mechanics live auction, my wife and I sat tightly packed with hundreds of other folks looking for a glimpse of, and hopefully a chance to bid on, some of the amazing pieces of handcrafted furniture and home decorations built by our young FFA members from Nevada Union and Bear River high schools.
The fair has so much to offer. I’ll go out on a limb and say we have the best county fair around.
Treat Street serves great food and sweets that support our community nonprofits, our youth provide a great livestock display and the community-created exhibits are again over 7,000 strong. But getting a chance to see what the FFA Ag Mechanics kids come up with is my personal favorite.
Their creations are a sight to behold. Many take months to create.
At last year’s auction, when the bidding started most escalated into the hundreds of dollars, some into the thousands. And John Renwick didn’t miss a beat pitting one bidder against another.
John knows his stuff. He’s taken my money at too many events, fundraisers and auctions over the last year and a half. He’s so good at it that the fair’s Board of Directors named John and his wife, Teresia, to the Nevada County Fair’s Hall of Fame.
John and Teresia do so much more for our county fair, and our community, than just the Ag Mechanics auction, but that is what I remember personally.
During last year’s fair, my wife and I walked among the Ag Mechanics items prior to the auction and scoped out a particularly unique wine barrel table. It quickly became a “must-have” for our home. We even had a chance to meet the table’s maker, Nevada Union High School student, and local FFA member, Fallyn Foster.
With the auction approaching, my wife and I made a pact that we wouldn’t be the first bidders or jump in quickly if the bid escalated.
We committed to sit back, be “cool” and wait for the opportunity to spring into the bidding action at just the right time.
But as the item was brought into view in front of the hundreds of people waiting to pounce, the pressure mounted.
John introduced the young builder of the wine barrel table and asked for a starting bid. As I leaned back to remind my wife about our bullet-proof strategy, she was already standing up, waving her hands in the air and yelling out a starting bid.
John, like any good auctioneer, leaped on our strategy gone awry. As the bidding increased, I tried to recollect our position in the auction, only to find John, with that big charming smile on his face, looking at my wife saying, “Don’t look at him. You don’t need his permission.”
So I lost control but ended up with the beautiful wine barrel table. Both my wife and I were exhausted, sweating and high-fiving at the same time from the excitement as the auction closed.
Did John take advantage of us? Heck yes he did. But we had a great time, and it’s all for a good cause.
The money raised at the Ag Mechanics auction goes directly to the participating youth and supports their future education plans. Last year 58 items were auctioned raising over $39,000.
Next week the Nevada County Fair is back, August 12-16. And so is the FFA Ag Mechanics auction. This year the auction is again open to everyone and will be 5:30 p.m. Aug. 14, on the Sugar Pine Lodge patio. John will be back and so will my wife and I.
This time we have a better auction strategy; we’ll just go big right out of the gate.
To contact Publisher Jim Hemig, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4299.
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