Larry Dodson is always looking for ways to learn something new.
In the past, he attended bartending school and even learned how to pinstripe hot rods.
In January, he set his sights on something else: auctioneering school.
“I’m always looking to educate myself with something,” said Dodson, 50. “This was just something else I thought would be fun to do.”
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I’m always looking to educate myself with something. This was just something else I thought would be fun to do.
Larry Dodson, Puyallup resident
As a longtime Puyallup resident who graduated from Puyallup High School in1985, Dodson built many local connections who know about auctions in the area, fueling his motivation to go to auction school.
“My goal would be helping charities with their auctions,” Dodson said. “I started looking online and there was number of auction schools (in the country).”
After looking at schools in Montana and Arizona, he decided to enroll in Missouri Auction School in Grandview, Missouri, with plans to visit a friend while he was there. The Missouri Auction School is the world’s largest auction training center and includes lectures and workshops about the auction business.
Dodson’s Auctioneering and Auction Sales Management course was only offered twice a year, so he chose January, planning a year and a half in advance. His wife and four kids encouraged him to go, including his friends.
“They thought it’d be really cool,” he said. “Everyone said, ‘That’s funny, because you’d be so good at it.’”
Dodson, a mortgage loan officer for Northwest Mortgage in Puyallup, took some time off work, then packed his bags.
While the course is only a week long, it’s a rigorous one, said Dodson, who said he was working nearly 12 hours on the course. His educators took attendance for all 86 students, who were required to attend the classes.
“It’s pretty intense, but they teach you all about the whole auction business,” Dodson said.
It’s pretty intense, but they teach you all about the whole auction business.
Charity, car, livestock and estate auctions are just some of the types of auctions Dodson learned about. In Missouri, many students are interested in livestock and cattle auctions. In Washington — specifically Puyallup — charity and fundraising auctions are more common, Dodson said.
“One thing that I’ve learned is that there are a lot of fundraising auctions out there,” Dodson said.
As part of his class, Dodson helped at a local art auction, where he balanced entertainment and work as an auctioneer.
“When people go to an auction they get the idea that they’re going to get someone to talk really fast, and I think the auctioneer chant is a form of entertainment,” Dodson said.
When people go to an auction they get the idea that they’re going to get someone to talk really fast and I think the auctioneer chant is a form of entertainment.
At the end of his class, Dodson received a diploma, gavel and an honorary “colonel” title, a tradition dating from the Civil War. He plans to use what he learned as the emcee for an auction for Cascade Christian Schools on March 11.
For now, Dodson said he enjoys the work he does at Northwest Mortgage and sees a relationship between his interest in auctioneering and his past work experience, which included selling cars and office supplies.
“Everything has to do with sales,” Dodson said about his work history. “In a weird way, being an auctioneer, you’re in sales.”
While he never really sees himself retiring, Dodson hopes that one day he can bartend at a golf course while participating in auctions on the side. Moving forward, he’s not sure what he wants to learn next, but is open to new things.
For those interested in contacting Dodson about auctioneering, he can be reached at 253-318-4007 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.