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Jolene Jokela Veo is 2008 state champion auctioneer

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Jolene Jokela Veo, competing against the top men and women auctioneers in the state, has been chosen the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association's state champion, hauling home a trophy of gargantuan proportions.

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Son Logan, 9, was confident in Mom's ability. "I knew you'd win," he told her.

Jokela Veo has 30 years' experience with a gavel, beginning as a clerk for her parents, Eddie and Lorraine Jokela, when she was 12 years old.

"My chant came naturally from hearing it so much," she said. "I never went to auction school. I learned from my dad and brother Randy."

The competition called for selling three items in the preliminary round, the five finalists going on to be interviewed and selling three more pieces.

The 31 contestants were judged on voice/chant, presentation and effective auctioneering.

Her chant has been perfected via thousands of auctions through the years in the family business, Jokela Auction Co. She's sold everything from real estate to machinery to antiques to glassware.

Auctions "out of the ordinary" have included the Governor's Cup Ski Races in Telluride, Colo., where bidders buy the skiers they anticipate will win. She's also served as auctioneer for National Trap Club Calcutta's in several states, including the Spring Grand American, held in Phoenix, the second largest trap shooting tournament in the world.

Jokela Veo holds the distinction of being the only woman to auctioneer at the National Finals Rodeo Bucking Horse and Bull Auction in Las Vegas, roping in $27,000 for the highest priced bucking horse.

"Auctions are becoming the first choice for dispersing not only personal property, but real estate as well," she said. "I enjoy the people, the unique variety of the items I sell and being outdoors -- always in a different location."

Auctioneer criteria: an outgoing personality with an understanding of values -- with the ability to communicate this to the crowd. "And if they're having a good time, they'll bid more."

Jokela Veo will serve as goodwill ambassador for the state auctioneers organization this year, and will organize next year's event. "I may change the rules a bit," she said.

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