Matt Hostetter of Chippewa has a way with words.
His smooth talking recently earned him the distinction of Pennsylvania State Bid Calling Champion at the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association Conference on Jan. 11 in Harrisburg.
Mr. Hostetter received a trophy and plaque and has qualified for the International Bid Calling Championship held by the National Auctioneers Association in July.
After having competed in the event for eight years, Mr. Hostetter, whose earns a living with his fast talking, said he was rendered speechless upon hearing he had won.
"I was completely humbled and flattered," he said.
"I was walking out with my wife and my mother and I said, for eight years I've walked out of this building disappointed in myself and for once, I'm walking out feeling on top of the world.'"
What made the victory even sweeter for him, he said, was sharing it with his father, Sherman, who was named Bid Caller Champion in 1992.
This is the first time in auction history that a father and son have won this honor.
Mr. Hostetter said his father was ecstatic and got a little emotional over the win.
This winning streak also extends to Mr. Hostetter's cousin Lee, who won the title in 2010.
Born and raised in a family of auctioneers including his father, grandfather and uncle, Mr. Hostetter said it's in the blood so it was only fitting that at the age of 15 he attended Reppert Auction School in Indianapolis.
Upon receiving his auctioneer certificate, he returned home and has worked for the family business, Sherman Hostetter Auctioneers in Chippewa, for the past 13 years where he specializes in real estate, estate, and business auctions.
He also travels to Europe each month, where he is involved with Heavy Equipment Euroauctions in Ireland, Spain and Germany.
While traveling, Mr. Hostetter said he always enjoys sparking conversation with people and telling them what he does.
After the initial shock, he said most people respond that it's different or unique.
Shattering pre-conceived notions of auctioneers is also something he said he enjoys.
"A lot of people think an auctioneer is somebody who has a cowboy hat on and cowboy boots and jeans and their overalls," he said. In reality, he said, only a small fraction of auctioneers go out and conduct business that way.
His typical attire is a suit, with "Western wear" reserved only for farm sales or the like.
Mr. Hostetter said he is frequently asked if bid calling is hard to do, to which he responds that anybody can do it.
"It's just like anything else in life, enough practice and you'll get good at it," he said.
He started out practicing a few basic calls and as he got faster and added some rhythm, his simple bids turned into sounds, he said, and he began to develop his chant.
When calling, Mr. Hostetter said atmosphere is everything and cited the importance of finding the perfect balance between rhythm and speed.
"You want to have a sing-song chant with rhythm to keep the crowd engaged, to keep it pleasant on their ears, and to form excitement," he said.
"The more excited and happier the crowd is, the more that they will want to engage and bid on the products you're selling."
Mr. Hostetter described calling as the "face" or "show" of being an auctioneer, but that of equal importance is the business end, which includes meeting with clients to discuss how he can help sell their assets and maximize their profits.
While most people attend auctions to buy something, Mr. Hostetter said they are also there for the entertainment aspect, which he said feeds his energy and sparks his passion for the business.
"I like to get the crowd joking, laughing, and having a good time," he said.
"To me there's nothing greater thing in the world than being behind a [microphone]. If I could die behind a [microphone], I probably would."
Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: email@example.com.