Online bidders buy 38% of auction items in Fruita

LE ROY STANDISH/The Daily Sentinel
THE RITCHIE BROS. AUCTIOn generated about $3.8 million from a total of 750 bidders, “right about what we expected,” said the auctioneer company’s regional manager. The sale was Thursday in Fruita.



By LE ROY STANDISH

Onlookers, Internet bidders and opinions were plentiful Thursday at the Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers auction in Fruita.

“Overall, we had 366 registered bidders online, and they purchased 38 percent of the total sales volume,” said Steve Merich, regional manager for Ritchie Bros.

Total bidders numbered 750, including the online participants. The auction, which offered construction equipment, earth movers, semitrailers and other construction-related goods, generated about $3.8 million, Merich said. “Right about what we expected.”

Others, such as Rick Brewer, an auto repairman from Silt, had different expectations.

“I thought they’d be a little better than they were,” Brewer said, indicating prices were lower than he anticipated.

He bought a welding machine and a semitrailer. New, the welding machine would cost $9,500. He picked up a used one for $2,500, but he was careful and checked it out before offering a bid.

“This is a dumping ground for some of this stuff,” he said.

Mike Hibberd, of Mesa, purchased a flatbed trailer.

“Pretty much everything went for a deal,” he said. “I’d say it’s a sign of a pretty weak economy.”

It was his impression that the larger earth-moving machines went for less money than anticipated and the smaller equipment, which people might use on a ranch or farm, went for more than he anticipated.

“The smaller the equipment, the more they got out of it,” Hibberd said.

Doug Wilson, who travelled to Fruita from South Dakota, bought one of the larger pieces for sale, paying $54,000 for a front-end loader.

“I went higher than I wanted to, but I bought anyway,” he said.

Others kept their wallets closed.

“I didn’t buy nothing,” said Mark Jones, a rancher from Collbran.

The prices were, he said, “higher than what I wanted to spend.” And to him that indicated a slight uptick in the economy.

Craig Moores, a rancher and businessman from Gateway, also did a lot of looking Thursday and walked away from the auction empty-handed. But he, too, was optimistic about the economy, taking a cue from the higher-than-anticipated sale prices.

“Seems to me things sold a little bit better than at the CAT auction (held June 30 at the Mesa County Fairgrounds),” Moores said.

“Isn’t it interesting?” Merich said of the mix of opinions regarding how sale prices reflect the state of the economy.

Through his eyes, the auction showed that the oil and gas industry is still sluggish.

“Anything touching the energy sector (like vacuum trucks) is tough right now,” Merich said.

He guessed, judging by past Ritchie Bros. auctions recently held in Colorado, that most of the items sold would be leaving the Centennial state. He estimated that 60 percent is leaving the state, and 40 percent will remain.

But auctions like this, where all manner of construction equipment was for sale from earth movers to all-weather covers, are “creating fluidity” in the economy, he said.

“They (buyers and sellers) are doing something about it rather than sitting there doing nothing,” he said.


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