For brothers Andrew and Austin Bachmann, auctioneering is a family affair.
Andrew, 23, is a Brainerd police officer. Austin, 19, is a Central Lakes College student. Both learned the art of calling an auction from their father, Vince, who owns Bachmann Auctioneers in Frazee. But when it comes time to put on an auction, they get help from their mom, grandfather, sister and brother-in-law, who all chip in.
"What's unique about our auction business is it's family oriented, family run and family owned," Andrew said. "Everything that's done from the auctioneers, to the ring men, to the clerk, to even the lunch staff - everything. It's family."
Like their father, Andrew and Austin Bachmann are among the best in the state at what they do.
In January, the Bachmann brothers competed in the Auctioneer Championship Auction at the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association Convention in St. Cloud. In his first year competing in the Champion Auctioneer bid-calling contest Andrew was crowned Reserve Champion Auctioneer.
Brothers Andrew Bachmann (left) and Austin Bachmann hold up ads for auctions they've helped run. Behind the brothers stand trophies earned at January's Minnesota State Auctioneers Association Convention in St. Cloud, where Austin was named rookie champion and Andrew reserve champion. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Austin won the top bid-calling award for Rookie Champion, the award Andrew won in 2006. It was the first time brothers had won the rookie award in back-to-back years, and Andrew said he was honored to be able to present the trophy to his brother.
"Nobody knew who had won until they asked me if I'd like to present the award," Andrew said. "I opened it up and saw that it was him, that was pretty unique."
The brothers are following in the footsteps of their dad, who won the championship in 1997. Along with being licensed through the state, Andrew and Austin in 2004 received certification at the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa.
From April through October, the brothers spend their time helping their dad run Bachmann Auctioneers at auctions across the state. While they are licensed to run auctions only in Minnesota, the brothers will help out auctioneers in other states if needed.
Auctioneering can be a time-consuming event. Austin said the one thing people don't realize is how work goes into organizing and putting on an auction. Along with the miles traveled to the auction site, there's putting together a bill of items to be sold, determining the starting price of the items, taking pictures of the items for the bill, advertising and setting it up.
"There's a lot more to it than just selling eight hours a day," Austin said.
Then there's getting ready for calling the auction itself. The brothers said they spend the couple hours before auctioning selling or chanting to themselves to keep their vocals warm. It's the main thing an auctioneer needs to practice to continue to be successful.
"If we were to stop working at it, stop selling for year, we wouldn't lose it but we would lose our speed, clarity and rhythm," Austin said. "During the auction season we're a lot more fluent, we flow better. With our breathing techniques, it takes longer to get it back when not doing it on weekends or every day."
The brothers have been around auctions their whole life, and have been witness to interesting bids. One memorial item was a wooden butter mold. The brothers and their dad knew it was a collector's item, but when they announced the starting bid at $3,000 Austin said everyone in the room laughed. When it sold for $3,800 everybody quieted down, he added.
"It does happen where you can get a lot of money from something you wouldn't expect," Austin said.
For Andrew, his primary career will remain as a police officer. After graduating from Central Lakes College in 2002 he worked as a community service officer with the Brainerd Police Department for a year. After spending time with the Menahga Police Department, he got a job as an officer with the Brainerd police in February of 2006.
"For myself, right now being a police officer, auctions are more of a side job, a hobby type enjoyment. For my folks, my mom and dad, it's a way of life, their living," Andrew said. "I do really enjoy the Brainerd lakes areas as a police officer because it's not too big and not too small. You get a wide variety of stuff to do and stuff to see."
Austin intends to make a career with Bachmann Auctioneers. He is working on degrees in business management and sales and marketing. He also intends to get his real estate license to help out with his auctioneering career.
"I'd like to eventually take it over, expand it, get it bigger," Austin said. "I'm definitely going to stay with auctioneering and real estate and keep it as family-oriented as I can."
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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