Internet Learns Auctioneering School Is a Thing With Viral Bid Calling Clip

TikTok users have been left as shocked as they are mesmerized by a viral video of auctioneer training.

The video was shared by David Whitaker on June 12, and shows a class at the Western College of Auctioneering in Montana. Trainee auctioneers can be seen practicing counting numbers in unison in the classic sing-song speed and tone, counting forwards and backwards in amounts of $2.50.

Standing in a circle formation, which some viewers have jokingly dubbed cultlike, the students practice both the bid counting and their hand gestures, which Whitaker said "helps them assign what bidder they were with on the last number."

Western College of Auctioneering has been training future auctioneers since 1948, where Whitaker teaches as an instructor. Bid calling is one of the various courses the school offers to amateur auctioneers, like those captured in the video.

Whitaker has worked as an auctioneer since he attended Missouri Auction School in 2008, and specializes in farmland auctions. Now, he works in an area sales management position at Farmers National Company.

Along with his wife, he runs an auction and real estate company, Whitaker Marketing Group, which now focuses on farm equipment auctions. Seemingly, the students in the video are in good hands, as Whitaker has won championship titles and awards for his auctioneering presence, including Nebraska State Champion and World Auctioneer Spokesman of the Year.

"Normal auction school takes from 7 to 10 days. Some states have license laws and others do not. That being said, the basic auction chant and the business-end of auctioneering are taught at auction school. However it takes months to years later to perfect the craft of bid calling. A lot of practice!" Whitaker told Newsweek.

"Most people think it is a God given gift but it can be learned by anyone. I myself did not know anything about auctioneering until I went to school," he added.

In just two days since being posted, the video has gained over 400,000 likes and 1 million views, with users both confused and entertained.

"Tell me why I thought it was just southern instincts that let them talk like that. They have to practise?" asked one viewer. They're not alone either, as the comments are filled with those confused by the existence of auctioneer training.

"I thought they were just born with this talent," wrote another viewer.

"This is how I imagine eBay when I'm placing my bid," joked another TikTok user.

"There are some basic tongue twisters and rhythm drills that students learn in auctions school. People often think they can count when they come to school but then realize they have to change the increment when somebody else gives them a visual cue, audio queue or an internet queue," Whitaker told Newsweek.

While other viewers have even been calling for the video to be made into a remix. Whitaker suggested Auctioneer Beats, a TikTok account which remixes auctioneers counting bids into rap tracks.

The video has even acted as an accidental promotion for the school too, with TikTok users requesting more information about it in the comments. "I low key want to go to auction school," wrote one viewer.

"Most people have probably never attended an auction, they just assume an image of a man in a cowboy hat selling cattle. However in reality it's a $270 billion industry. Everything you can imagine is sold at auction," said Whitaker.

"I would encourage anyone to come to school, it is a very diverse group of people. All nationalities and most countries are represented, and all genders are welcome," he added.

Update 09/16/2021 2:27 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comments from David Whitaker.

Back view of an auction room
Back view of an auction room. A video of auctioneer training has gone viral. Getty Images