Barrett-Jackson watchers will see a few key changes on the auction stage during the third annual Hot August Nights sale, which starts today at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada.
A new lead auctioneer has been identified by Barrett-Jackson. The award-winning Joseph Mast will head the team of auctioneers and bidder assistants starting with the Reno event.
Mast replaces long-time lead auctioneer Spanky Assiter, known for wearing spectacles on his forehead, who had been with the Scottsdale-based auction house since 1992. Also gone from the stage is Assister’s wife, Amy, a bidder assistant whose charismatic presence was popular among Barrett-Jackson regulars.
Barrett-Jackson recently severed ties with Assiter & Associates, auctioneers of Amarillo, Texas, reportedly over a contract dispute. But auction chairman Craig Jackson said in an interview with ClassicCars.com that a change in the most-public face of the auction was “inevitable.”
“I’m trying to move onward and upward and bring on fresh blood and energy,” Jackson said of his choice of the young Mast to lead the show. “He’s a hot shoe.”
Spanky Assiter did not immediately respond to a message asking for comment left at his office by Classic Car News. In 2007, Assiter was inducted into the National Auctioneers Association’s Hall of Fame, and in July, he was elected president of the organization.
Mast, an Ohio native, was the youngest winner of the prestigious International Auctioneers Championship in 2011, when he was 31. A member of Barrett-Jackson’s auctioneer team since 2008, Mast gained near-celebrity status recently when he appeared in a TV advertisement for Geico insurance demonstrating why an auctioneer would make a lousy grocery-store cashier.
The new lead auctioneer brings to Barrett-Jackson his own team, some of whom have been with the auction for a while.
“It’s a privilege for me and the team to be associated with Craig Jackson as part of a strong, global brand that advances the market in such a positive way,” Mast said in a Barrett-Jackson news release. “We look forward to the Hot August Nights Auction and will exceed the high standards that fans have come to expect from Barrett-Jackson.”
Mast graduated from the Missouri Auction School in 2001. His early auctioneer career focused on estate, personal property and real estate before he added auto auctions. For the past five years, Mast also has auctioned off thoroughbred racehorses in Kentucky. In addition to his auctioneer championship titles, Mast sits on the board of directors of the National Auctioneers Association.
“For more than seven years we’ve watched Joseph grow into a world-class auctioneer,” Jackson said in the new release. “Not only does he have a deep love of the collector car market, but he has connected with our bidders and consignors on a very personal level. His team, many of whom are already familiar faces at our events, offers a contagious energy and excitement that is synonymous with Barrett-Jackson. They are a perfect fit for the future of our company.”
The Reno auction takes place during the popular Hot August Nights hot rod, custom and classic car extravaganza in which thousands take to the streets for shows, contests and lots of cruising in the Reno, Sparks and Lake Tahoe area.
The three-day auction runs today through Saturday with live coverage broadcast on the Velocity and Discovery cable TV networks. For the TV schedule and other information, see the auction website.