Fifteen-year-old Shelby Shuman of the Eaton FFA Chapter in Colorado is not only finding success with a supervised agricultural experience (SAE), but she’s also laying the groundwork for a potential future career.
Using the FFA Auction Industry Guide and knowledge from her father, Scott Shuman, who is a partner and an auctioneer with Hall and Hall Auctions and helped create the Auction Industry Guide, Shelby Shuman conducts local fundraising auctions and competes in auctioneering events. To date, she’s conducted auctions for the Colorado State University women’s volleyball team and Western Colorado University’s athletics program, and she’s served as an auctioneer during events at Eaton High School, including the Eaton FFA Annual Hired Hand Auction.
Shuman won the Colorado Junior Auctioneer Championship in 2017 and the Colorado Troil Welton Award for new auction school graduates in 2019, and she plans to compete in the International Junior Auctioneer Championships in July 2020.
“I graduated from auction school in Clear Lake, Iowa, in June of 2019, and it really motivated me to focus on getting better and finding ways to apply what I’ve been learning,” Shuman says. “I’ve enjoyed pursuing auctioneering as my SAE because it’s so different from what many other students do, and it gives me an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Plus, it’s given me the tools I need to create my own business.”
Not only is Shuman building an impressive roster of skills and experience, but she’s also inspiring some of her fellow chapter members to try their hands at the auctioneering SAE.
“It’s exciting that other students are interested in auctioneering, because it gives them the chance to try something that has multiple career avenues they can choose from,” says Heidi Lanning, who advises the Eaton FFA alongside Melissa Achziger. “They learn public speaking and communication skills, and how to market and promote events, for example, and those lessons are important no matter the industry or career they want to pursue.”
In addition, Lanning points out that auctioneering is an ideal SAE for young people who do not have access to resources like land and livestock. With practice and dedication, students can become proficient – just like Shuman.
“Our chapter is so proud of her and recognizes how hard she works,” Lanning says. “We have not had a member work as a true auctioneer in a long time, and it’s amazing to see Shelby continue to excel at such a high level.”