Nisku – Randy Wall, president of Ritchie Bros. Canada likes to roll up his sleeves and spot bids at company auctions.
That’s what he did for part of the day during a media tour and photo op at his company’s largest unreserved public auction in Canada held in Nisku from April 28 to May 1.
The four day auction sold more than $215 million of heavy equipment and trucks and attracted a record 14,000 registered bidders from more than 55 countries.
The auction also drew a record 8,150 online bidders, 3,200 buyers and 1,850 online buyers.
Wall caught bids for auctioneer Wayne Yoos on the final day when excavators, compactors, forestry equipment and oil and gas drilling equipment went up for bid inside the auction theatre packed with customers.
“It’s a fun business. Most of us have been here for quite a while. It gets under your skin. It’s exciting for us. It’s exciting for the bidders,” he said at the Nisku site.
Bids were made in person at Nisku, online in real time at company’s auction website and by proxy.
More than 6,000 people physically attended the auction to bid on over 7,700 lots.
“There’s an energy here and when those machine roll across the ramp in front of us and there’s thousands of people around, it’s tremendous,” said Wall.
Only the highest bidder wins explained Wall whether it’s a customer in Saudi Arabia, in Texas or in Alberta.
“They are all competing against each other. The prospect for a bargain is the lure that brings them here,” he said.
“When there is 14,000 people bidding against each other there are very few bargains, but they can and do happen, and we don’t shy away from that because that sells the next one.
“If somebody went to sleep on that particular item, then that just wakes them up for the next go around, so it’s very cool system.”
During the final day the mostly non mobile auction lots and live bids were projected on overhead monitors inside the theatre, prompting the bid catchers to bring their A game.
Wall eyed the bidders like a hawk pointing and gesturing each time he caught a bid facing the seated audience.
“I enjoy what I do and it’s a wonderful business. Body language helps,” he said.
“You create a relationship actually with those bidders in the area of the theatre that each one of us is responsible for,” he explained.
Wall noted there is a healthy rivalry going on not only among the customers, but between the bid spotters as well.
“It’s our job to look after them. We fight hard so that they win that machine – not the fellow sitting in the next section over,” he said.
“If the auctioneer picks my colleague to the right or to the left, I’m on to my own guy because I want him to win that high bid.
“So we do everything we can to help our customers and those 500 that are sitting in my section to succeed.