Iowa auctioneer in 'Storage Wars' spotlight

Solon auctioneer, one of few young women in the industry, stars on A&E reality show

Photo of Emily Wears by Stephanie Marie Photography.
Photo of Emily Wears by Stephanie Marie Photography.

Solon native Emily Wears has known auctioneering her whole life. In fact, she was basically born into the business.

Her father, Brent Wears, has been a professional auctioneer for more than 35 years and founded Wears Auctioneering in 1985. He began bringing Emily to auctions early in her life, just like his father did with him.

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that her years around auctioneering have brought her into the spotlight to show off her own auctioneering skills on A&E’s “Storage Wars” 10th season — which aired its first episode Wednesday, April 12.

But it’s not the first time on TV for Wears, 27, who made her debut in 2012 on a reality series called “Money Barn,” which followed auctioneers on a mission to find barns with hidden treasures. The show ran only one season.

Then, in 2015, Wears auditioned for “American Idol,” making it to the celebrity round before being eliminated.

This time, Wears will appear as an auctioneer in at least nine episodes of the new season of “Storage Wars,” a reality series that follows a group of bidders looking to strike it rich by buying repossessed storage units in Los Angeles.

For nearly eight weeks, Wears was flying back and forth between Iowa and L.A. — in addition to recording the show, she was also running Wears Auctioneering’s online auctions, chanting at live auctions on the weekend, training her new puppy and planning her May wedding.

“Things have been crazy,” she said. “I didn’t know how consuming it would be. But looking back, that was crazy for a while but it was fun. I’m not doing it to make millions, but this opportunity doesn’t come every day. I thought I’d give it a try and I ended up really enjoying it.”

Wears wasn’t always interested in auctioneering. In fact, in school she was involved with choir, band and other ensembles and foresaw a career in music. Still, she helped at auctions on the weekend — running sheets, helping load purchases into trucks and picking up garbage, among other chores.

When she was 10, she became a clerk for Wears Auctioneering and at 17, she decided to attend a 10-day course at the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City to learn the trade.

Today, Wears is one of few female auctioneers in the industry and represents even fewer females her age.

“A lot of people think being a woman in the auction industry is challenging because of the stereotypes, but I think it’s more rewarding than challenging,” Wears said. “You’re treated differently, but it goes both ways. And it’s really fun to compete against men twice my age. I really stand out. Frankly, that’s what gets me some of these opportunities I’ve had.”

Wears is certified in bilingual auctioneering, has won three state championships and placed as a finalist in multiple international auctioneering competitions, including the International Junior Auctioneer Championship in 2008. A year later, she won the Iowa Auctioneers Contest. In 2012, she was the first woman and youngest ever to win the Colorado Auctioneers Contest. And in 2014, she was the first female winner of the Wyoming Auctioneers Contest.

“I really enjoy bid calling,” Wears said. “It’s fun, fast-paced and exciting. It’s a unique skill to have and people are really intrigued by it.”

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