Bargain hunters converge for Clark County government surplus auction

Updated May 24, 2017 - 2:50 pm

Those new to auctions and eager for a deal might be tempted to hang on to the bid caller’s every word.

Good luck with that.

Rapid-fire auction chants are part numbers, part filler phrases, and understanding — and calling — them isn’t as easy at it might look. Mike McKee of TNT Auction has his auctioneers study at the Mendenhall School for Auctioneering in High Point, North Carolina.

“It’s two weeks of training and 30 years of practice,” the company owner and chief auctioneer said of getting the call right.

Part of that practice came at the eight-hour Clark County government surplus auction, held May 20 on a lot on Stephanie Street, near Dog Fancier’s Park. First up for bid were unclaimed lost-and-found items from McCarran International Airport, and one could be forgiven for feeling sorry for the fliers who’d left behind iPods, Kindles, laptop computers and jewelry.

Auctioneer Jared Edwards handled the tongue-twisting call, and Kim Fowles yelled “yep!” each time someone in the crowd indicated a higher bid. The small treasures were bundled for bulk purchase and sold well, with a bag of jewelry fetching $300.

Adjacent to the lost-and-won McCarran items, machinery and other hardware were similarly sold in bulk, with bidders responsible for taking home large pallets covered with merchandise. Among the more unusual offerings in that section were large, metal, casket-like tables formerly used to house cadavers.

“I’ll bet anything one of these will end up filled with ice and used for a party,” said David Johnson, manager of the county’s automotive division, which oversees the auctions.

Large trucks and Ford Crown Victorias dotted the yard. The latter are known for both speed and safety, Johnson said.

“Crown Vics could take a hit from behind at 75 mph and the driver would survive,” he said.

Attendee Bill Crawford of the north Las Vegas Valley pointed out that some of the ex-police cars contain Kevlar, making them bulletproof.

Crawford was looking for two trucks and a motorcycle, but the luck-of-the-draw mystery contained in the pallets was part of the lure.

“You see a big pile of Apple computers, and you might get something good,” he said.

Attendee Marco Rodrigues of the southwest valley was looking for vehicles and electronics.

“I saw the auction online; it seems like a pretty good time,” he said.

The May 20 event was the second of three Clark County government surplus auctions this year. There’s none in summer because the unshaded auction area would be far too hot, Johnson said.

Money from the auctions goes back to the department that donated the items to be sold. There’s a financial benefit for the buyer, too: There’s no sales tax on government-owned property, said Dayna KcKee with TNT Auction.

Online element

Johnson said that in his 12 years on the job, online bidding has become increasingly common. People can enter proxy bids in advance indicating how high they’re willing to go, or they can follow along via

Contact Brian Sandford at or call 702-380-4531. Follow @nweditor on Twitter.

NFR Day 6 Highlights
Highlights from the 6th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Las Vegas Bowl Teams Talk Shop at Maverick Helicopters
Arizona State, Fresno State talk to the media at Maverick Helicopters.
NFR- Will Lowe
NFR Bareback Rider Will Lowe talks with Aaron Drawhorn about his 15 years at the NFR, starting to ride at age 7, and renewing his wedding vowels this year in Las Vegas before night 6 of the National Finals Rodeo.
Veterans Village
Veterans Village and Veterans Village II were created to assist homeless veterans get back on their feet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday party cocktails
Veterans Village II Unveils Model Container Home
Veteran's Village II unveiled a model container home. The organization will be building 10 of these container homes to house veterans of the village. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR- Kory Koontz
NFR Team Roper Kory Koontz talks about his years at the event since 1992, his dynamic with a 23 year old partner Dustin Egusquiza, and how he contines to perform with diabetes with Aaron Drawhorn outside of Thomas & Mack before round 5 of the National Rodeo Finals.
Meet the woman behind the Las Vegas Bowl
Melissa Meacham-Grossman is the associate executive director for the Las Vegas Bowl. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Highlights Day 4
NFR highlights day 4
NFR Introduces Golden Circle Of Champions
For the first time, the National Finals Rodeo has partnered with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo to offer the Golden Circle of Champions. The event brings in 20 children and their families from around the country that have previously or are currently fighting life-threatening cancer.
NFR Time Lapse 2018
Watch Thomas & Mack Center transform from a basketball court to an arena fit for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Video courtesy of Las Vegas Events.
RJ's Mark Anderson on the UNLV loss
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Joel Ntambwe on performance against Illinois
UNLV forward Joel Ntambwe talks about the 18 points he scored against Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Amauri Hardy on loss at Illinois
UNLV guard Amauri Hardy talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Marvin Menzies on loss at Illinois
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition. Roman was born Dec. 13, 2017 and has been at Sunrise Children Hospital with a rare heart condition since. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
NFR 2018: Unique Gifts At Cowboy Christmas
Before you head over to the Thomas and Mack for NFR, be sure to check out some of the unique and one of a kind items at Cowboy Christmas!
NFR: Dale Brisby
Day two of the National Finals Rodeo has started and Premier Vegas Sports host Cassies Soto interviews social media influencer Super Puncher Dale Brisby.
103-year-old celebrates birthday at gym
Joe Rosa of Las Vegas celebrated his 103rd birthday celebration at 24 Hour Fitness in Summerlin Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. After being the victim of a hit-and-run crash, Rosa's medical team told him he would never walk again. Rosa credits physical therapy and a personal trainer at the club for his return to health. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson native Mason Clements finished second in NFR bareback go-round
Mason Clements discusses his second-place bareback ride on opening night of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec 6, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marvin Menzies on where UNLV stands at this point
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about where UNLV stands at this point in the season. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
The Mob Museum
Saddle bronc rider Joey Sonnier earns spot at NFR after overcoming years of drug addiction
Joey Sonnier started saddle bronc riding at 18, but at 20 he began using methamphetamine to cope with the work of the rodeos and became addicted. At 39, after years of addiction and a low point that pushed him to rehab, he's qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Core Arena opens at the Plaza downtown in time for NFR
Core Arena, downtown's first permanent outdoor equestrian center, opens to the public at the Plaza. The arena will be used for events throughout the year, including the 10-day 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas
MountainView Hospital celebrates the opening of the new Sunrise Health GME Simulation Center.
MountainView Hospital celebrates the opening of the new Sunrise Health GME Simulation Center. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
NFR Preps Livestock for the Limelight
NFR’s Jed Pugsley discusses the care that goes into preparing the rodeo’s livestock for Las Vegas’ big event.
Grand Menorah lighting begins Hanukkah
Rabbi Shea Harlig led the ceremonial lighting of the menorah to begin Hanukkah at the Fremont Street Experience. There were also performances by the Desert Torah Academy's choir and the Dancing Dreidels. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Perla Gumm has spent the past few years collecting toys for kids for the LV Rescue Mission
Perla Gumm has spent the past few years collecting toys for kids for the LV Rescue Mission. It's something she started even before the rescue mission was her beneficiary; she just felt a need to collect toys and teamed up with them later. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like