Well before St. Patrick's Day, more than 60 reporters and editors nationwide had received early information about the 2001 International Auctioneer Championship, Wednesday, July 17, at the National Auctioneer Association's annual conference and show, in Boise, ID.

And that is just the tip of a fast-moving iceberg of change afoot to move the competition more centrally into the glare of the national spotlight, under the leadership of IAC Committee Chairman Mike Jones, CAI, Dallas, TX.

"The 2001 IAC Championship will not only handsomely compensate the winners, but a new dedication to media attention by NAA's national office will propel the winners into the global spotlight, in a way unlike any previous champions have ever seen," noted Jones.

Never before has NAA given a monetary award to its top male and female auctioneer champions. This year, each winner will receive $5,000 in cash, and that only is part of the more lavish prize package. Both winners also will receive the free use of a vehicle of choice for one year (up to a $5,000 value), the traditional two-foot trophy and championship ring and a significant booking of public relations and publicity appearances on major national, regional and local media throughout the year. This latter provision also includes substantive media training, practice sessions and material support provided by the NAA's own public relations expert--assistance that, if purchased from an outside consultant, would easily cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

"Our 2001 IAC champions can expect to be interviewed on television and radio talk shows, have articles written about them in newspapers and magazines and become a real celebrity in their own state, as well as around the country," said Jones. "It is a level of commitment by the national office with no historic parallel."

Registration materials (Form A and Form B) must be completed and submitted to: NAA, 8880 Ballentine, Overland Park, KS 66214 to receive the package of information about the IAC competition. On Form B, registrants must check the box next to "International Auctioneer Championship Contest," under the Special Events section, indicate the number of tickets and submit a $200 check for each IAC contest entry.

The boost to a $200 entry fee is just one of the changes this year. Entrants also are required to bring at least two auction items, each with a minimum $50 value. These items should be of an interesting and, if possible, regional nature. "We are hoping for unique, imaginative items this year, not so much of the kind of merchandise available at the local discount store," said Jones.

Last year's winners, Amy Sparks, Alex, OK, and Michael Espe, Elburn, IL, will not be eligible to compete in Boise. It is in keeping with the IAC tradition that past winners are not eligible to enter again. "One change in the judging that the IAC committee did agree to this year is to retain a contestant's high score, but to exclude only the low score," noted Jones. In previous years, in tabulating the numeric scores awarded by the judging panel, the highest and the lowest scores were eliminated and the remaining scores were added and averaged.

"By enhancing the prize package this year, and providing a pledge of public relations and media support, we hope to have auctioneers see the national, even international, importance of this event in our industry," he said. "It also is a unique opportunity for auctioneers personally.

"As I always have said, life affords all of us opportunities. It is up to us to maximize our potential. Contestants, the window of opportunity is open. Take advantage of it. Your destiny awaits you. I will see you in Boise," said Jones.

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