The Twin Cities Radio Controllers is a club located in the heart of Minnesota. They are one of the few clubs, that I know of, that actually own their flying field! Though the field floods most every year in the spring due to it’s location, this also makes the land not much good for anything else! TCRC has well over 100 members on it’s roster – this is what lets them put on such an event as their annual auction. Every February, usually the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, the club holds their auction at the Cross Point Church in Bloomington, Minnesota. I cannot remember the last time I DIDN’T attend this event, to be honest with you!
Scott Anderson, former club president and all-around nice guy was one of the 60 (Yes, I said SIXTY) volunteers that made the 41st annual TCRC auction their largest yet! I’ll give you some numbers in a minute – but let’s get to some photos first…
When entering the church, the first thing you’ll see is the registration tables. There are two – one for selling items, and one for getting your bidder’s number. The doors opened at 06:45 for sellers and bidders alike. I’m usually one of the first to arrive, outside of the volunteers running the event. I bring some items to sell because I run out of room in my basement and garage. A volunteer is even on-hand to open the door as people start bringing in their items for the auction.
One thing I need to mention – TCRC has a great website – www.tcrconline.com – it will get you all the information you need to get ready for the auction. In addition to the website, they send out an email about a month prior to the auction to anyone that has sold items at last year’s auction. You can get pre-registered with a seller’s number, and print a seller’s sheet to complete before the day of the sale. With my seller’s sheet completed and ready, I started bringing in my items. Trust me when I say that it’s easier to complete the seller’s sheet in the comfort of your own home without 15 other people waiting behind you in line!
The club has been doing this for such a long time that they have a great system in place to make sure all items are tracked. Rest assured that all items brought in are tracked and recorded before they’re allowed to leave with the newest owner.
With all of my items handed off to the volunteers, I paid my $5.00 entry fee, and found a place to sit and wait for a while.
As you can see from the many photos above, there’s something on-hand for nearly every RC aviation enthusiast! From micro sized planes through giant scale, everything is covered! There was also loads of building supplies, tools, and even bundles of balsa, too!
At 08:30, a half an hour before the auction started, the impound doors were opened. The bidding crowd shuffled through to get a preview of what would be seen in the auction. This scene is akin to a bunch of kids on Christmas morning – checking out all of the new stuff they’ll get to play with for the next year!
Before we get to the auction itself, I’d like to take a minute to introduce the volunteer auctioneers.
Scott and Jim are veteran amateur auctioneers that have been doing this for many more years than they’d probably admit. Brian was a rookie this year, and did an excellent job! I can say with all certainty that being an auctioneer isn’t an easy job – I’ve actually shared the stage with Scott and Jim, but that was more that 10 years ago. It’s a tough job, but a fun job as well!
Let the Bidding Begin!
The auction began at 09:00, with Veteran amateur auctioneer Scott Anderson at the lead – Scott has started the auction off as long as I can remember – He has a larger than life presence that demands attention, and a voice that carries well!
Scott, Jim, and Brian took turns throughout the nine hours and fifteen minutes of live auction – I’m sure that all three were exhausted by the end of the day! A large gorup of volunteers always joins the auctioneer on stage – they all have certain duties. Some are recording item numbers and bidding amounts, while others are spotters helping the auctioneer find the high bidder. There were also several volunteers that ran the items to and from the stage – every one pitched in and did a lot of work that day!
In addition to the live auction, there were several other things going on – a silent auction was taking place in the corner for some ‘big ticket items’. Four of the five highest dollar sold items were on the silent auction: Highest bid of the day went to a Ziroli SkyRaider that sold for $1525, followed by a Top Flite P-51 at $1225, an Aeroworks 120cc Biplane at $825, and a Hangar 9 33% Sukhoi at $700!
Because there is a minimum bid of $20 on any item going through the auction, a bargain table had items for sale that may not have reached the minimum bid. These prices were set by the seller, and all items were available for immediate sale – it would be like the ‘buy it now’ feature on ebay!
The bidder’s crowd waxed and waned a bit throughout the day, but there were a total of 240 bidder’s numbers purchased! In addition to this, TCRC had a concession stand set up in the corner selling coffee, water, and pop, and doughnuts, cookies, hot dogs, and even Subway sandwiches! If you left the auction with an empty stomach it wasn’t because TCRC didn’t try to feed you!
As I mentioned earlier, This was TCRC’s best auction yet, and here’s some numbers!
Main Stage – 616 items
Silent Auction – 8 items
Bargain Table – 50 items
Total – 674 items
The auctioneers sold 616 items at a blazing average speed of 52 seconds per item, with the first item sold at 09:00 and the last at 18:15!
This is TCRC’s main fund raising event of the year, and with the proceeds from this auction, they will be able to do some field renovations, including refinishing their paved runways – the best part is that they’ll be able to do these projects without raising club member’s dues!
There were a few raffle prizes given away throughout the day – everyone that purchased a bidder’s number was entered in the raffle, but you had to be present to win. This is a great tactic to get people to stay until the end of the auction. I’ll stand by that claim, because yours truly won a Seagull Models Mini Cassutt ARF! I almost never win anything, so I was very surprised and pleased to take home a raffle prize!
Raffle prizes were donated by surrounding Hobby shops, and included Hobby Warehouse in Richfield, MN, Hobby Zone in Plymouth, MN, Hub Hobby in Richfield, MN, and Sky Hobby in Eagan, MN. Thank you to all that donated raffle prizes!
Well, that about wraps up this article. If you’re in the midwest, and are looking for a great day of all things involving RC aircraft, you should make a trip to the TCRC auction. As I mentioned earlier, I go every year – it’s a great place to sell or buy items, but also a good day to reconnect with old friends and make new friends. As a former member of the TCRC club myself, I look forward to spending the day with my TCRC friends! So, on behalf of all the attended the 41st annual TCRC auction, I thank the members and volunteers of the Twin Cities Radio Controllers – y’all did a great job putting on the BEST RC auction!