Yoder Brothers: Amish Auctioneers

Yoder Brothers is an Amish auction company run by brothers Willis and Leroy Yoder. I recently came across some upcoming auction listings, and even some videos of the brothers on YouTube.

Amish auctioneers
Image: Auction Network/YouTube

The pair were also profiled in a 2017 Goshen News article, on the occasion of Willis being inducted into the Michigan Auction Hall of Fame:

Together, Leroy and Willis operate Yoder Brothers Auctions and Appraisals. They are licensed in Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Yoder said he also sells at Shipshewana Antique Auction each Wednesday and at the horse auction on Fridays.

Yoder was born and raised in Clare, Michigan and moved to Shipshewana in 2000. He said he always wanted to be an auctioneer and attended the Reppert School of Auctioneering in 1991.

“I was in my early 20s when I went to auctioneering school,” he said. “I started following my dreams.”

He said while he was at the school, “One of the instructors told us only 3 percent of people who graduate from auction school make a full-time living from being an auctioneer. That scared the daylights out of me so I went home and worked hard.”

That work has paid off in an auctioneering career for Yoder. His company conducts all sorts of auctions in the five states where they are licensed.

The brothers conduct two large consignment auctions for farm equipment and miscellaneous items each year and help Michigan fur trappers sell their furs at seven fur auctions annually in that state.

Willis Yoder of Yoder Brothers Auctions
Image: Auction Network/YouTube

Leroy & Willis Yoder in action

Here’s Leroy Yoder demonstrating bid calling in both English and Pennsylvania Dutch. Impressive how he effortlessly flips between the two:

And here is an extended profile of Willis Yoder. It’s 14 minutes long, but worth the watch. Willis is a true pro. He gives you some of the behind-the-scenes of auctioneering. He also discusses how not all Amish accepted Amishmen as auctioneers initially, and how that has changed. Some great footage capturing the upbeat atmosphere of these events as well:

Willis describes auctions as “a way of life” for Amish. They are integral business, social and community support events (e.g., benefit auctions).

Here’s part of the bill (no longer online) for a Yoder Brothers farm auction to be held in Blanchard, MI. I noticed some catchy horse names on the bill: “Turbo”, “Flashy”, and my favorite, “Balanced Bandit”.

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    4 Comments

    1. Deborah

      Videos and the Amish

      I didn’t think the Amish allowed themselves to be captured in photographs on video. Am I mistaken about videos?

      1. The attitude to film – both photos and video – can really vary by the community and individual. These brothers are from a more progressive community, and on top of that, they do an occupation which puts them front and center in an attention-getting public role – arguably to a greater degree than any other typical Amish occupation. So considering those two points it’s not too surprising they are okay with being filmed.

    2. Anne Voytilla

      treadle sewing machine

      i have a vintage singer treadle sewing machine in a mahagony cabinet; it is in good working condition but might need a new leather strap; i would like it to go to the amish and would give it away as long as you pay for the shipping to you from southern california where i live; it was originally from pennsylvania; it was given to me by my mother and she got it from her mother in pittsburgh pa.; hope to hear from you.

    3. Karen Baker

      Auctions

      I went to an Amish auction once, I think it was in Clymer, NY. After one Amish farmer successfully bid on a saw, his buddy said to him, “You’re sleeping on the couch tonight!” I guess maybe he spent more than he told the wife he would? LOL!!!

      As for the horses…I really hope none of the older ones end up purchased by a kill buyer. I hate those guys. Its also why I hate horse racing. Too many racehorses end up in stock trucks bound for a slaughterhouse in Mexico or Canada. Its illegal to slaughter a horse for human food in the USA (and there are always lobbyists trying to get that law overturned), but its perfectly legal to sell or auction a horse for shipment to a country where it is legal to slaughter them for human consumption. Canada, Mexico, and Japan routinely slaughter American horses for their meat-in Japan, the emphasis is on freshness, so they will actually fly live horses to Japan, in cramped boxes. MAkes my blood boil!
      Every Amish person I ever met, treated his or her horses with respect, and saw their every need was met, that they received the proper food, veterinary care, and pasture time. When a horse was injured or ill beyond saving, or weakened by extreme old age, the horse was humanely put down, usually by the vet, and buried on the family land. They’d never have even thought to sending a horse to a kill auction.