Calling top bid; Thompson crowned 2017 Minnesota Champion Auctioneer

Published 11:05 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

In January, Dave Thompson took the floor in the Ray Live Learning Center of The Hormel Institute to auction off a few items during the Business After Hours Paint the Town Pink kickoff.

After breezing through his auctioneer chant to draw a few initial bids, he broke his cadence and stopped to look at a woman hedging about continuing after her first bid was topped.

“Don’t be a one hit wonder,” he said, breaking his chant and just talking. It worked. The woman raised her hand to bid.

Email newsletter signup

“Thank you,” Thompson said before continuing his auctioneer chant.

Getting that extra bid wasn’t Thompson’s only win recently. Thompson of Lansing was crowned the 2017 Champion Auctioneer of the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association during the group’s convention last month in Minneapolis.

Thompson will serve as the group’s ambassador for the year and will represent Minnesota at this year’s International Auctioneer Championship in Columbus, Ohio, July 11-15.

“It’s amazing,” Thompson said.

Thompson was picked as the winner by a panel of judges from a field of 14 competitors, and he praised his fellow finalists as being a strong field of competitors who had fared well at past competitions, including reserve champion Brandon Nelson of Ellendale.

“I was just blessed to be in that room,” Thompson said.

Judges score on clarity, eye contact, control, the chant and an auctioneer’s ability to work the crowd.

Thompson has competed at about eight or nine past conventions, finishing as high as fourth before. Thompson called the competition a great way to improve from the judges’ scorecards and critiques.

“It’s neat because wherever you’re at in the competition, you get those scorecards back and you can use those as constructive criticism,” he said.

Dave Thompson with the hardware. Photo provided

Dave Thompson with the hardware. Photo provided

From past scorecards, judges told Thompson he moved around a bit too much on stage and worked on his chant and rhythm to improve clarity. He also practiced his answers to the interview portion of the competition, aiming to give concise, direct answers.

For his day job, Thompson works for Austin Utilities in customer service, but he spends nights and weekends on auctions through his Thompson Auction Service.

Thompson’s fascination with auctions dates back to when he was a boy and would stop with friends to look on as auctioneers went through their chants.

“I was just mesmerized by the auction chant,” he said.

He then went to a few auctions with his dad and grew more interested.

“It was one of those things where I always wanted to do it,” he said.

He became an auctioneer in 1999 after attending a weeklong program at Continental Auction school in Mankato. But he says he continues trying to get better, practicing often and listening to other auctioneers to see how they do it and what filler words they’ll use.

Today, Thompson does various types of auctions from real estate to benefits to collectibles and more.

Along with being a trained professional auctioneer, Thompson is also a benefit auction specialist and can help groups doing charity auctions maximize their earning potentials through various techniques, including helping get auction items and more.

Thompson has worked with several companies and works with Curt Johnson Auctioneering for benefits, but he’s excited to work with Minnesota State Auctioneers Association and new auctioneers as the 2017 ambassador.

When he was getting into the business, Thompson recalls other auctioneers being hesitant to help him get his foot in the door, perhaps for competitive reasons. But he’s now looking forward to helping and giving opportunities to new auctioneers.

“I’m really proud to share my passion,” he said.

To contact Thompson, visit