"Overall, the entire experience was an eye-opener," Ray Lundberg said of his time at auctioneer school. "I thought it was all about the chant. Get on the podium and sell it. But that's just 10 percent of what we do. There is a lot of paperwork and a lot of talking to the sellers and buyers, a lot more work to it than I thought."
The title traces back to the end of the Civil War when the winning army's colonel auctioned off the "spoils of warfare."
Lundberg completed the 10-day course of instruction that covered all phases of auctioneering, including bilingual. Twenty professional instructors at the college train the students in real estate, automobile, farm, antique, charity and fundraising and specialty auctions.
"We started at 8 a.m. each day and were lucky to be out by 11 at night. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun."
WWCA has trained more than 35,000 auctioneers throughout the United States, Canada and various countries around the world since its establishment in 1933. It has graduated more world champions and international champion auctioneers than any other school, a press release stated.
WWCA specializes in the development of voice control, auction chant and bid calling. Students study auction law, business management, technology, marketing, networking and online auctions.
During the program, Lundberg got to call an auction sale that was held at the college and was open to the community.
"We're supposed to talk up the items. It was an absolute ball. You sell three items, one you're familiar with and two you've never seen before. You get up behind the mic - get your chant rolling - it's a big adrenaline rush."
He attempted to bring a bottle of wine from the Walla Walla Valley, but was foiled at the airport by the liquid limit for carry-on items. Instead, he provided a bottle of Mnage Trois wine from the Napa Valley that he bought in Iowa. It raised $38.50.
The college provided the other two items, including a judge's gavel, which brought in $50. "It was the highest-priced gavel there," Lundberg said. He also auctioned off an inexpensive print of John Deere tractors buried in the snow, which brought in $22.50.
Proceeds from the student auctions help keep the school going.
Lundberg said there are only four auctioneering colleges to choose from. "World Wide College of Auctioneering produces more world winners in every field of auctioneering. Those winners, successful in business, taught us," he said.
His class of 32 included eight women, a couple from Scotland and others from Canada and across the U.S.
Lundberg said he'd always wanted to become an auctioneer. "The way the economy is and I'm not getting any younger, I decided why not? There aren't many auctioneers in the area, which was another reason."
"I want to get into consignment auctions here and get into car sales, real estate and the livestock end, too." He will operate as RD Lundberg Auctioneering at 509-520-8603.
Each aspect of auctioneering requires licensing and he's working toward a real estate license.
"I can sell cars, boats, motor homes, even the household cat, but real estate is in its own world and you work under a broker. This is the last piece of puzzle and I've been working on it for a while."
Lundberg pulled up stakes in the Othello area and transplanted to Touchet in 1990, intent on raising livestock and kids.
His four sons went through the Touchet School system. He has farmed and raised cattle since and is an independent diesel mechanic. He and significant other, Celie Sturm, own and operate the Wild Onion Market and Hair Care Salon in Touchet.
Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at email@example.com or afternoons at 526-8313.