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Bidding on a side career

By Staff | Jul 1, 2010

Some high school seniors-to-be spend their summer vacation going to the lake, attending sports camps or working a part-time job.

Michael Ostrem, of rural Rugby, went to auctioneering school.

Ostrem graduated from the Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Mont. on June 24.

“Their motto is the home of champions, and I believe it,’ he said. “One of the course instructors was the 2010 Livestock Marketing Association World Livestock Auctioneer champion.”

Indeed, the college has the reputation of grooming successful auctioneers in both the U.S. and Canada, and that was why Michael decided to enroll there.

The 11-day course was very intensive with training from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Michael, who is the son of Rick and Lynne Ostrem, was in a class of 18 and was also presented with the Outstanding Student of the Class award as voted on by his peers.

Auctioneering intrigued Michael at an early age. “I remember going out to the Rugby Livestock Sales ring when I was four and just listening to Ron Torgerson sell cattle to buyers,’ he said. “Auctioneering was something I was really interested in.”

He would eventually work on his bid call, or “chant” as they say in the business, and was ready to enroll in an auctioneer college.

In order to receive a auctioneer license, one must be at least 18 and Ostrem turned 18 on the final day of class.

“A majority of our time was working on our chant,’ he said. “We would do speaking drills, say tongue-twisters and count in tens up to 90 and back down again. We also broke into small groups practicing selling items.”

To be an effective auctioneer two things must be present, Ostrem says. An auctioneer must have clarity in his bid call, so buyers can understand the caller, and secondly, to be honest.

“You have to be up-front with your buyers, tell them at the beginning, if something is wrong or broken with an item,’ he said.

In addition to working on his bid call, the course also covered the regulations of auctioneering, how to set up an auction and write contracts.

He admits not too many his age pursue an auctioneer’s license, and he was unfazed by the fact he’s one of a few teens who did so.

While farming is Ostrem’s top interest, he sees auctioneering as a future side job.

And he wasted little time in getting a jump start on it.

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