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December 17, 2014

Faces of Fauquier: Fast talk a tool of auctioneer’s trade

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“My dad used to say when you get Fauquier County dirt on your shoes you can’t get it off,” Kathy Shumate says.
My dad and I were really close. It’s kind of what we do. We are mouthy, and it’s a natural thing. My grandfather’s first auction bill in Fauquier County was from Nov. 15, 1916 . . . . I always wanted to do this.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Her quick, clear cadence sends items flying off the auction floor with a holler: “SOLD!”

Kathy Shumate brings a lifetime of experience and a genetic predisposition to her business, Shumate Auctions LLC in Warrenton.

With a talent for fast talk, Ms. Shumate in just an hour can sell as many as 100 items, ranging from furniture and glassware to jewelry and, on the rare occasion, livestock.

For three generations, Shumates have worked as auctioneers in Fauquier County. Her grandfather, Latham, started the family tradition in 1916.

The late Wilbur Shumate carried on the business and daughter Kathy helped with auctions as a young girl. She started her own auction business from scratch in 2003.

“All of us sell with our hands,” she says. “My new tag line for my business is: ‘Shumates have been pointing our way to quality auctions since the early 1900s’.”

Inspired by her father’s love of the trade, she attended Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in North Carolina for a rigorous 80 hours of training in two weeks.

“They teach you how to talk fast and to count without thinking what number comes next. It has to be automatic.”

She “calls” monthly auctions at the businesses’ headquarters on Falmouth Street in Warrenton along with estate sales and fundraisers.

She has auctioned six white chickens in a crate, two mules and all sorts of collectibles with niche markets.

Ms. Shumate says she would never think to live anywhere else.

“I like it here the best. My dad used to say when you get Fauquier County dirt on your shoes you can’t get it off.”

• Age
61

• Home
Opal

• Work
State licensed auctioneer and owner of Shumate Auctions LLC. Former federal government contract worker at Vint Hill.

• Why do you do the job?
My dad and I were really close. It’s kind of what we do. We are mouthy, and it’s a natural thing. My grandfather’s first auction bill in Fauquier County was from Nov. 15, 1916. My mother clerked for him.

My dad did handwritten tickets. When I was 5 years old, I would run the tickets to the cashier after the item was sold. My dad’s last auction was in 1990.

I always wanted to do this. When I turned 50, I decided to do it. I went to the Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in North Carolina for two weeks. I started my business from scratch in June 2003. Every two years, you have to renew your certification with six hours of training.

Last year I did about 27 auctions and 18 fundraisers. This year I did about 20 auctions.

My employee, Peggy Mauro, is my right hand. She helps unpack, clean, set up and list items.

• Family
Husband, Howard Shackelford; daughter, Kelly; five grandchildren; brother, Wilbur Shumate Jr., and two dogs, Charlie and Ruby.

• Education
Fauquier High School, 1972. Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in North Carolina, 2003.

• Civic involvement
Calling auctions for several non-profit fundraisers and benefits, including Habitat for Humanity, Community Touch, Bethel United Methodist Church, the Tigerlily Cancer Foundation, Catlett-Calverton-Casanova Ruritans, local schools and several Christian women’s groups.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
My whole life. I grew up in the Town of Warrenton.

• Why do you live here?
I’m fortunate enough to have gained a full-time job out of high school and two great government contracts that showed me the world. I like it here the best. My dad used to say when you get Fauquier County dirt on your shoes you can’t get it off.

• How do you describe this county?
It’s changing. An influx of people are coming here for the slower pace and hometown feel. After a few years, they get bored and want the amenities they had in the city. I see a big difference in auctions. Everybody is suffering the same. It’s a good market if you are a buyer, but it’s tough if you are the seller.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
Nothing. I would hate to lose the hometown feel that people come here for to the shuffle of politics.

• What do you do for fun?
Genealogy research. It’s an addiction. I’ve done my husband’s family back 400 years. I’ve tracked my family back to 1550. They were Huguenots in La Salle, France.

I’m crafty. I paint furniture sometimes. I like cooking and baking.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
I just like riding around and looking at the scenery. As a whole, I can’t think of any place I don’t like in Fauquier County.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
I think Manassas will be a smear right up to us. It’s hard to hold that down, and it’s hard to say no to that stuff (development). Costco will come here.

• Favorite TV show?
“Outlander” and “Game of Thrones”

• Favorite movie?
Any Dan Brown novel that has been turned into a movie — “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons.”

• Favorite book?
Dan Brown novels and historic novels on the women behind the Confederacy who portrayed themselves as men.

• Favorite vacation spot?
I never really go on vacation. I’m a good spur-of-the-moment person who is always going. When I have many tasks, I do them well. But when I have only one thing, it’s difficult to finish it.

• Favorite food?
Seafood

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
Say what you’re going to do and do what you say. Someone I worked with years ago told me that.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My dad because he was a gentleman’s gentleman. He would do whatever needed to be done and never had any enemies and liked a good time.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
Get my grandchildren’s college paid for and donate a chunk of it to people I personally knew that needed it. Stick the rest away and continue working, because that’s what I do.

>> Suggest a “Faces of Fauquier” profile subject

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.


• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.


• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.


• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.


• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.


• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.


• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton

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spiritbear · December 19, 2014 at 11:31 am
Carry on kathy, your Dad would be proud!!!
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