Bobby D. Ehlert of Ahwatukee landed a spot among the world’s 15 best auctioneers at a conference last week, and he’s not disappointed that he didn’t take the championship crown.
“One of my best friends won, so I’m happy,” said Ehlert, who has been a professional auctioneer the last 15 years and was a finalist for the international competition last year as well.
“I’m probably more energized. All my moons were aligned last week and I thought I was going to take it. But after talking to the judges, I realized I left a little on the table, so I’ll just go back next year and take it,” he said.
That kind of buoyant optimism and enthusiasm are an integral part of Ehlert’s success.
Last year he won the World Automobile Auctioneers Championship sponsored by the National Auctioneers Association. He also was the 2014 U.S. Bid Calling Champion and the 2009 Arizona Bid Calling champ.
A past president of the Arizona State Auctioneers Association, Ehlert said he got the auctioneer bug from his father-in-law while he was still a student at Arizona State University.
“The more I got into it, the more I grew to like it. I love it now,” he said.
He eventually graduated from the World Wide College of Auctioneering, then got a Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation from the National Auctioneer Association, joining only 170 people in the U.S. with that distinction.
Ehlert said he calls at more 250 auctions a year, including about 160 car auctions and another 60 for charity events.
The charity auctions give him a particular sense of self-satisfaction, he said, because “I’m raising money to help charities help more people.”
Of Ehlert, the association said “creating fun, memorable and lucrative events is in his blood, and he strives to create an engaging, inspiring event for all of his clients.”
The championship competition last week came during the 67th International Auctioneers Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., and marked the fourth time Ehlert has competed for the coveted honor.
He and other competitors performed before more than 1,000 auctioneers and were judged on their presentation, chant, voice timbre, and body language. They also were judged on how they responded to various questions from the judges.
“It’s kind of like the Miss America competition,” Ehlert said.
He is one of five auctioneers who belong to a group whose mission is “to help organizations – through engaging consultation, exciting auction events and inspiring Call To Action donation appeals – fund the programs and infrastructure to realize their own missions and directly impact more individuals.”