BUTNER — More than a dozen cherry pickers blue, white, green and orange stand tall like flags within sight of drivers on Interstate 85. When you get close to the Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers store, other construction equipments dominate the horizon as far as the eye can see. Theres CAT, Deere, Volvo.
These massive machines brought visitors to the Triangle from all over the world Wednesday and Thursday as part of a two-day, grand-opening auction of the newest store of the worlds largest industrial auctioneer.
The mining sale were doing today is probably the largest auction of mining equipment in the world, said John Fairley, regional sales manager at the store.
Visitors can feel their feet vibrating from the noise in the 700-seat auction theater. The auctioneers voice is rhythmic, sounding like a strange song as the price on a Caterpillar machine grows as bids come in. The energy of bidders is palpable.
Sold! At $225,000! And the next machine is shown within seconds.
You can get caught up in the frenzy, that is true, said Lowell McClung, who drove five hours from West Virginia to bid Thursday on underground mining equipment for Metalcraft Mining Equipment Rebuilders Inc., where he is vice president of operations and sales. You come in with a plan, you stick with your plan and youll do alright.
Many of the attendees Wednesday and Thursday flew in from Canada, Jordan and Australia.
Bidding from afar
The auctions were broadcast live to a bidding site in Las Vegas. Auctions also aired online.
The company first opened in North Carolina in 1983 in Statesville. But the inventory outgrew the space, Fairley said.
Ritchie Bros. was attracted to Butner because it is close to three major interstates 85, 95 and 40 and it is almost directly between the companys locations in Newton, Ga., and North East, Md.
If you get too close to one side or the other, wed be competing with ourselves, Fairley said.
Its worth it for companies to travel because some equipment like a new Caterpillar D11 bulldozer often requires a wait list that can take up to six months, Fairley said. All the equipment sold at the auction is ready to take home the next day.
Ritchie Bros. buys and sells new and used construction, agricultural and transportation equipment. The company sold more than $19 million worth of equipment Wednesday. Thursdays numbers werent available.
Phil Southern, who owns Repair King Inc. in West Virginia, bid on underground mining equipment Thursday. Though a lot of the equipment he is looking for is available, its not usually at an auction.
I want to steal it, buy it cheap, Southern said.