All posts by Tricia Wiltjer

Sara Rose Bytnar Wins International Auctioneer Championship!

Sara Rose Bytnar Wins
International Auctioneer Championship!

Third Generation Auctioneer Wins Women’s Title
One Year after Finishing Second to Her Mother

(Naples, FL – July 26, 2017) – Sara Rose Bytnar of Naples, Florida was recently crowned winner of the Women’s National Auctioneers Association (NAA) 30th Annual International Auctioneer Championship in Columbus, Ohio. The 31 year old Rose Bytnar, a third generation auctioneer, grew up with four female auctioneers in her family to guide and mentor her, to which she credits much of her success. She finished second last year to her mother, Beth Rose, by one-tenth of one point.


Twenty women competed for the right to be known as one of the best auction professionals in the world. Rose Bytnar, Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI), Accredited Auctioneer Real Estate (AARE), Auction Marketing Management (AMM), received a $5,000 cash award, trophy and championship ring. The contest included a preliminary bid-calling round, an interview round, and a final round of bid-calling that included seven women.

“I am honored to have won the auctioneer championship and be recognized by the world’s largest association dedicated to auction professionals,” said Bytnar. “My involvement with the NAA has provided an opportunity to network with the best auction professionals in the business and the educational opportunities to keep me at the top of my field.”

As part of her responsibilities as auction champion, Rose Bytnar will travel to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN later this year to conduct the annual NAA Toy Auction for patients and their siblings. All of the children leave as winners after bidding successfully on a toy to take home. The NAA formed its partnership with St. Jude in 1995 and has raised more than $5 million to support St. Jude.

Rose Bytnar focuses on luxury homes, commercial property and golf course real estate auctions in Ohio, Michigan and Florida for her family’s business, Beth Rose Real Estate and Auctions. She is also an auctioneer with Scott Robertson Auctioneers, one of the premier professional benefit auction companies in the United States.

Sara is joined in her year as champion with the Men’s Division Champion, Dustin Rogers, of Mt. Airy NC.

Eli Troyer Wins Midwest Auctioneer Championship


NEW BUFFALO, MICHIGAN – Professional auctioneer, Eli Troyer of Applecreek, Ohio took top honors at the highly anticipated Midwest Auctioneer Championship.

The Midwest Auctioneer Championship saw a field of 26 top quality auctioneers from around the Midwest competing for the title of the Grand Champion of the coveted auctioneer championship. The championship was held in conjunction with the Midwest Auctioneers Roundup which is hosted by the Michigan Auctioneers Association.

The highly esteemed auctioneer championship saw five finalists starring, John Beechy, Alex Belcher, Clayton Neal, Justin Croy and Eli Troyer. Justin Croy earned 2nd place in the competition.

Troyer is an Applecreek, Ohio based auctioneer employed by Kaufman Realty & Auctions where he is a full-time auctioneer and Realtor licensed in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The highly talented auctioneer is no stranger to winning championships. This past February, he was crowned the Champion of the 2017 Michigan Auctioneer Championship and won the 2016 Ohio Auctioneer Championship Junior Division.

Upon receiving the championship purse of $2,000 and the championship award, the emotional Troyer commented, “I want to thank God for giving me the ability to do the things I do. I want to thank my wife who is always there for me.” He added, “It’s been a big year for us. We just bought a house, got a baby on the way. Yeah. This is just awesome.”

One of the judges commented, “This was a really difficult championship to judge based on the overwhelming amount of talent.

We were looking at accomplished auctioneers that compete on the national level. However, it was many of the lesser known names that do not compete in similar contests that kept this competition especially tight. In the end, Troyer amassed the most points.”

Not to be outdone by the intense competition, the fan favorite of the evening was the kids auction. Aspiring young auctioneers from 4 years and up climbed up on stage to show off their budding talents.  Parents, grandparents, friends and family all supported these young auctioneers by bidding high and often on the items they auctioned, generating thunderous applause for each up and coming champion.

The Midwest Auctioneer Championship was broadcasted live on YouTube with an incredible amount of social media buzz leading up to the popular contest.   “Anyone in the world had the opportunity to see the stars shine on the big stage – and they were not disappointed. The contest generated a lot of fanfare.” Said Vice President and Marketing Director, Kenny Lindsay.

Jerry Cole, 2017 MAA Hall of Fame Inductee

Jerry Cole
2017 MAA Hall of Fame Inductee

Traverse City, Michigan – Auctioneer Jerry Cole of Beulah, Michigan, received the highest possible honor any auctioneer can receive, by being inducted into the Michigan Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.

Jerry Cole always loved antiques. At an early age, he and his father would go picking on trash day and reclaim, repurpose and refinish antiques that they would find. After his junior year in High School, he volunteered to join the army but had to have his parents sign a permission slip to enlist as he was not yet 18. He served two years in Korea and 2 years in Vietnam. After his army years he held several different jobs. From auto body to excavating to long haul trucking for many years. He has also been a barber for over 40 years. Jerry said, ” I always enjoyed giving a good haircut as I didn’t have any of my own to enjoy.”

After he and his family moved back to Michigan, his wife, Mary Jo, was working at a local hospital and he spent his time refinishing antiques and selling them in antique shops. Auctions were the hot topic at the local antique shop. Jerry was intrigued, so in 1990, he and his friend decided to go to Reppert School of Auctioneering.

He found out quickly that being a first generation auctioneer, he was going to have to ask for help. Joining the Michigan Auctioneers Association proved to be the most beneficial tool to becoming a professional auctioneer. He learned quickly from other auctioneers and made lifelong friends.

After his family moved to northern Michigan, he grew his business and planted its roots, including building an auction house, conducting estates and consignment auctions throughout the year. Each year saw growth in his business and he always reinvested back into education and technology. His son, Grant, joined the business early on and runs it to this day, now specializing in Sports Collectibles. Grant’s two children, Harper and Wyatt, are also growing up in the business. His young daughter, Harper has already spent some time on the microphone calling bids.

Jerry earned his Certified Auctioneers Institute(CAI), Accredited Auctioneer of Real Estate (AARE), and Graduate Personal Property Appraiser (GPPA) designations. He has been a successful auctioneer for over 20 years and has conducted over 1000 auctions in his career. He has sold everything from antiques to real estate, benefit auctions to local 4H and Boy Scout Fundraisers, and everything in between. Jerry gave back to the association he loves by serving on the MAA Board of Directors and serving as the MAA President in 2001. As soon as the program was offered, he committed to the MAA by becoming a Life Member. He has a passion for the auction profession and the MAA holds a special place in his heart.

Willis Yoder wins Michigan Ringman Champion 2017 and is Inducted into the Michigan Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame!

Willis Yoder wins Michigan Ringman Champion 2017 and is Inducted into the Michigan Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame!

Traverse City, Michigan – Auctioneer Willis Yoder of Shipshewana, Indiana had a great weekend at the Michigan Auctioneers Association Annual Conference in Traverse City.  He was awarded the honor of the 2017 Michigan Ringman Champion on January 20 at the Michgan Ringman Championship.  A field of 7 contestants from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio entered the competition.  Also taking home honors were Eli Troyer and Kelly Merryman.  Troyer was the 1st runner up and Merryman was the 2nd runner up.

The next evening, Willis received the highest possible honor any auctioneer can receive, by being inducted into the Michigan Auctioneer Hall of Fame.

As a boy growing up on a dairy farm in central Michigan, one of the highlights was going to the major draft horse sales and listening to some of the country’s top auctioneers.  This inspired him to go to Reppert School of Auctioneering in 1991, where he earned his diploma in auctioneering.  It was also common to hear him practicing his auction chant in the silo at chore time where no speaker was needed, or on the plow every time you passed a fence post it was another bid.

After returning from auction school he contacted a local auction barn asking if they could utilize his help if he would donate his time.  They accepted the offer.  He would head out on his bicycle and pedal the 25 miles to the auction, work the ring until 7 p.m. and was called to the auction block where he sold until almost midnight.  And sure was grateful to hitch a ride home with a friend, saving a 25 mile midnight ride.

He was also instrumental in getting his little brother excited to attend Reppert School of Auctioneering in 1993 and becoming a member of the M.A.A.  And in 1994, formed Yoder Brothers Auction Service.  Their first auction was their dad’s farm auction in April of 1994 with 40 head of dairy cattle, draft horses and farm machinery.  They now conduct a huge consignment auction twice a year with farm machinery and misc. outdoor being a two day auction event with four auction rings selling both days, attracting 1500 to 2000 bidders in two days.  The horse and carriage auction is held on the first Saturday in May with approx. 300 head of horses and 100+ carriages.

In 2003, seeing a need and opportunity for custom built cashiering trailers and auction toppers he was the founder and co/owner of Kuntry Custom R.V. Cashiering Trailers and Auction Toppers.  And currently designs and builds various sizes of aluminum frame portable auction podiums along with his walnut auction gavels.

Willis currently can be found selling at Shipshewana Antique Auction every Wednesday.  And helps little brother with the larger auctions and consignment auctions in Michigan.  He also works as a contract auctioneer for other auction companies.

Willis is also the 2012 Super Summer Slam Down Bid Calling Champion, the 1997 Michigan State Auctioneers Association Bid Calling Champion, the 2004 and 2005 Indiana State Reserve Champion, a 2 time finalist in the International Auctioneers Championships, and the 2011 Pennsylvania Dutch Bid Calling Reserve Champion.  He is a past MAA director, a 2002 graduate of the Certified Auctioneers Institute, and a 2011 Graduate of the Professional Ringman’s Institute.  He has been involved in more than the auction side of the auction business, building cashier trailers and truck toppers.  Currently, in addition to conducting auctions, he supplies several different types of auction podiums to the auction industry.  He loves to hunt, fish, go camping and ride horses.  Willis lives in Shipshewana, Indiana with his wife and five children.

Eli Troyer – Michigan Auctioneer Champion 2017


Eli Troyer
Michigan Auctioneer Champion 2017

Traverse City, Michigan – Eli Troyer of Applecreek, Ohio won the title, Michigan Auctioneer Champion at the Michigan Auctioneer Championship.  The Championship was held on January 20 at the Michigan Auctioneers Association Annual Conference held at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, Michigan.  13 Contestants competed for the coveted title.  The 5 Finalists were Ridge Bollheimer (Clarklake, Mich.), Grant Cole (Beulah, Mich), Frank E. Leist (Petoskey, Mich.), Eli Troyer (Applecreek, Ohio), and Scott Vander Kolk Jr (Dorr, Mich.).  For winning the title, Eli received a championship ring, trophy, and entry into the International Auctioneer Championship in July in Columbus, Ohio.

Also taking home honors were Grant Cole and Ridge Bollheimer.  Cole was the 1st runner up and Bollheimer was the 2nd runner up.

Eli Troyer is a full time Auctioneer/Real Estate Salesperson. Licensed in Ohio, Pennsylvania & West Virginia. Eli sells Residential, Commercial, Recreational and Agricultural Real Estate. He also sells Equipment, Livestock, Automobiles, Antiques, Estates, & numerous types of Business liquidations across these states and Michigan. Graduating from the Ohio Auction School in 2013, Eli is also the 2016 Ohio (Jr Division) Champion. Furthermore Eli is a member of the (NAA) National Auctioneers Association, (OAA) Ohio Auctioneers Assoc., (MAA) Michigan Auctioneers Assoc., and (WVAA) West Virginia Auctioneers Assoc. Eli is 3rd generation in the auction business, but a 1st generation auctioneer and lives in Applecreek, Ohio.

Eli enjoys business and is very passionate about the auction business. He also loves being around people and building relationships. In his spare time you can find him doing outdoor activities, helping out at church or spending time with his wife.

Eli is humbled and honored to be named the 2017 Michigan Auctioneer Champion. He looks forward to representing the Michigan Auctioneer Association at the 2017 NAA Conference and Show in Columbus in July.

Chuck Ranney, MAA President 2017

Chuck Ranney, of Coopersville, Michigan was elected President of the Michigan Auctioneers Association at their annual conference on January 20, 2017. Chuck had previously served as the Vice President and has held a chair on the Board of Directors s
ince 2014.

Chuck’s father, Jim started in the auction business in 1973, working in the Nashville, TN area for several years. Jim worked in and out of the auction business for several years. He moved to Michigan, where he worked for Don Brink at Hamilton Auction Company with Tom Wiltjer, Tricia Wiltjer’s father. He also helped Sid Miedema for several years. After leaving the industry again, he knew his passion was the auction industry and came back to work for Sid and Scott Miedema in 2002, where he has been ever since!

Chuck’s previous work career ranges from tow truck driver and mechanic, to service manager, and tire shop owner. In 2004, Chuck was introduced to the auction business when he was hired by Miedema Auctioneering to set up auctions. Chuck set up auctions for about 4 years before he decided he wanted to call bids. Scott Miedema bought him some tapes and books and told him to start practicing! Chuck had just begun practicing and getting the hang of things, when Hib Kuiper and Doug Heuker put him on the spot at an auction. He had no choice but to call the bids when Hib and Doug dropped the microphone on the ground, told him it was his turn, and walked away! Chuck has been a full time auctioneer and ringman ever since.

Chuck’s knowledge and experience gleaned from prior jobs helped to make him a well rounded, knowledgeable auctioneer. Chuck specializes in live auction events consisting of construction equipment, industrial equipment, farm equipment and real estate. Chuck has traveled across the U.S. providing critical leadership and management of many high profile auctions, liquidating millions of dollars of assets. Chuck also devotes his time to charity events, calling bids at benefit auctions about 10-15 times per year.

Much of Chuck’s success has come not only from his dad, but also Doug Heuker, Hib Kuiper, Sid Miedema and Scott Miedema. Not only did they give him the opportunity, they kept encouraging and believing in him.

Chuck and his wife, Shannon, have been married for 10 years. They have two boys who love to wear Miedema Auctioneering clothing and match their dad. Dylan is 8 years old and Max is 6. When they are not working, they enjoy camping and spending time with family.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the association, please contact Chuck Ranney (616) 560-0839 or

Photo Credit: Jane Harris Photography