I, Rod Burnett was born in 1975 and raised in Chilliwack BC. My Parents are Mike and Zeta Burnett and my Dad Mike is a champion auctioneer and has been an auctioneer for 45 plus years. My parents have always owned and operated businesses from auctions to retail stores and dude ranches, but one thing that always remained a constant was and is the buying and selling of everything and anything. That over a course of time ended up being an education I could not have lived without as it has taken me to where I am now.
I graduated from Sardis Senior Secondary School in 1993 and had already worked and set up more auctions then most auctioneers three times my age. I helped with antique furniture and car auctions along with horse and tack auctions from the time I was just a little guy which in turn is probably why this is no surprise but I went to World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa and graduated in 1995. I truly was not planning on being in the auction industry, as that was my dad and uncle’s thing, but boy was I way off on that one!!!!
After Mason City I came back to Canadian Auction Groups public car auction in Surrey BC where I was employed as a contract ringman prior to going to auction school on Tuesday evenings and Saturdays. I slowly began getting small amounts of mic time and over the course of the next six months gradually kept getting more and more time behind the mic. I then took a job at the wholesale car auction called Vancouver Auto Auction and it was a closed dealer auction that sold to Adesa in the late 90’s. During this time I also sold sales for Tom Dewalt in Prince George at Central Interior Auction and for Joe Butler in Kamloops at Frontier Auction on a weekly basis.
In the spring of 2000 a move to Alberta brought more opportunity for an auctioneer than the west coast. I was selling at Adesa Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Adesa Winnipeg on a weekly basis along with regular cattle sales at Thorsby Auction Mart and two public car auctions a week at Osman Auction. I was also selling Sunday farm auctions and evening horse auctions along with weekend classic car auctions. In 1 year I did 327 auctions!! That really is more auctions then some auctioneers will do in their entire career and while doing all these auctions I was buying and renovating farms and operating a land clearing business, trust me being that busy is probably not recommended. In 2007 , I sold the land clearing business and moved back to British Columbia to be closer to family and let the grandparents be closer to their grandchildren. I continued flying and driving all over the country to sell my weekly car auctions for another year. I ran across a fellow named Don Raffan and I started to use Valley Auction as my home base and concentrate on livestock and heavy equipment. This would allow me to stop travelling so much and I made Armstrong my home for the next 5 years. In this time I always kept doing my niche classic car auctions as not many people can truly pull one of those off the way I believe they should be done. I have done and am doing classic car auctions for the likes of Harrold Henninger, Kenny Knight, Electric Garage, Manheim Classic, and many many others over the years. In 2013 I took a position as head auctioneer for Danny Fayad and Manheim Edmonton and within six months I was living in Alberta again, was the Head Auctioneer, Arbitration Manager, and Director of Operations for Manheim Edmonton plus continue to contract my services to various other auctions as a contract auctioneer.
Off the top of my head, I have worked as a contract auctioneer for Canadian Auction Group, Vancouver Auto Auction, Central Interior Auction, Frontier Auction, Valley Auction, Adesa Auto Auction, Thorsby Auction Mart, Lawrence Auctioneering, Manheim Auto Auction, Canadian Public Auction, Wildrose Auction, Wheatland Auction, Lindstrand Auction, Sekura Auction, Olson Auctioneers, Michener Allen Auctioneering, Electric Garage, Kenny Knight, Car Crazy, Haydn Auctioneers, Vold Jones and Vold, Ducks unlimited, Harrold Henninger, Abbotsford Auction, Aldergrove Auction, Pagam Auctioneer and don’t forget to add in all the charity auctions and 4H sales etc. I personally raised over one million dollars for the Calgary Childrens Hospital. I have sold sales all across western Canada and have sold cattle auctions in California, Oregon and South Carolina.
Before I was an auctioneer I was just an “auction grunt” for my dad. He had won the 1990 British Columbia Auctioneer Championship and everyone including myself thought it was a great accomplishment and pretty darn cool. For those of you who may not know, Mike Burnett is and was considered the “Godfather” of the wholesale car auction industry and was “the man” for many many years. Once I became an auctioneer in 1995 I thought that if I could match my dads accomplishments as an auctioneer that I would have done a very good job within my career and this leads me into Rod Burnett the competitive auctioneer.
1999, 1st contest entered – Win, BC Auctioneer Champion
My dad and I bookended the decade with the same victory, and at this point early in my career I felt a sense of accomplishment and told myself that I didn’t need to go into any more contests.
2005, 2nd contest entered – Win, World Auctioneer Champion
2005, 3rd contest entered – Win, Canadian Auctioneer Champion
Now I have a world, Canadian, and Provincial Title and I have surpassed what I thought I could do, I told myself that I didn’t need to go into any more contests
2007, 4th contest entered – Win, BC Auctioneer Champion
I had moved from Alberta back to BC and “WILD” Bill Henke called me and said enter the contest and let everyone know that you are back in the province and I did and was lucky enough to win.
2009, 5th contest entered – Tie, Livestock Markets Association of Canada Canadian Livestock Champion Auctioneer
After a tie break I received reserve champion and had sold 10 head of cull cows in 6 years
2009, 6th contest entered – 11th Calgary Stampede International Livestock Auctioneer Champion
2010, 7th contest entered – Win, Livestock Markets Association of Canada, Canadian Livestock Auctioneer Champion
I had the privilege of working with Don and Peter Raffan for the year at Valley Auction which helped me with my livestock ability. Told myself that I didn’t need to enter any more contests.
2010, 8th contest entered – 5th Calgary Stampede International Livestock Auctioneers Champion
2010, 9th contest entered – Runner up, Livestock Markets Association USA, quarter final qualifier
2011, 10th contest entered – Win, Calgary Stampede International Livestock Auctioneer Champion
The recognition that is received after winning an event like the Calgary Stampede is absolutely over the top. I told myself that I didn’t need to enter any more contests.
2011, 11th contest entered – top 20, Livestock Markets Association, USA. South Carolina
2012, 12th contest entered – top 20, Livestock Markets Association, USA. California
There is one more title I am going to actively pursue and that is the World Auto Auctioneers Championship and if I win it I will retire from any and all competition and if I get tired of competing before I win it then I will retire from competition also.
The last thing that the auction and competitive auctioneering industry have brought me is recognition as to whom I am within the industry and that is through all the auctions I have done and by gaining a name in the competitive world. The classic car auctions that are my niche market have also gained a name for myself which led to the proposal of a reality tv show based on myself and my best ringman PeeWee. We filmed various teaser spots and promo spots and then filmed two entire episodes which aired on Travel Channel and we are now on the entertainment market for sale and production. Indigo Films out of San Fransico is the USA producer but we are being shopped around for a potential Canadian one also, the show is called Auction On Wheels.
I was involved in a charity auction which was hosted by Sara Mclachlan and included KD Lang, Barenaked Ladies, Colin James and Astronaut Chris Hadfield plus I have worked with the maker of the Bat Mobile, George Barris, the host of Pass Time on speed channel, Brett Wagner, Storage Wars Dan and Laura , Ricks Restorations – Rick and Kelly Dale and the odd playmate from playboy has been involved in an auction or two!!
All in all for a guy who was reluctant to become an auctioneer and just wanted to operate heavy equipment I have done OK for myself within a very tough industry. Lastly I am the proudest father of 3 daughters, a step dad to another daughter and that my friends is my real job and true test of a champion… auctioneering is just a hobby in comparison.