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Tenting the Barrett-Jackson car auction

National Structures helps to build an immersive experience with tenting design for a record-breaking live collector car auction.

Projects | August 1, 2022 | By: Sigrid Tornquist

National Structures, a specialized temporary structure, tenting, flooring, HVAC, power generation and mobile-kitchen deployment firm, launched its five-year partnership with Barrett-Jackson by helping build The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions in Scottsdale, Ariz. All photos courtesy of National Structures.

As Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. entered its 50th year of producing live collector car auctions, it secured a partnership with San Antonio, Texas-based National Structures Events & Services to ensure the tenting structures supporting the Scottsdale Auction were as phenomenal as the event itself. Awarded in July 2021, the five-year partnership kicked off in January 2022 with National Structures helping to build “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions” in Scottsdale. 

National Structures provides integrated event offerings for some of the largest sporting events, music festivals and multi-city events in the world. The company specializes in temporary structures, tenting, flooring, HVAC, power generation and mobile-kitchen deployment and oversees thousands of vendors, manages day-to-day special event operations, and builds structures of any size. “It’s a huge honor to help build the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction,” says Rick Freeman, National Structures’ president. “The 2022 auction beat records with car auction sales, and we’re excited to keep bringing an award-winning service to our partnership for years to come.”

Welcoming more than 500,000 attendees each year in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Houston, Texas, Barrett-Jackson’s live collector car auctions present thousands of the most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles to a global audience—and this year’s Scottsdale Auction at WestWorld of Scottsdale was the most successful auction in Barrett-Jackson’s history, with auction sales exceeding $203.2 million. “It’s always great to work with the Barrett-Jackson organization,” Freeman says. “We treated this project like every other. Our goal is to always exceed the client’s expectations and we will continue to do that for Barrett-Jackson year after year.”

National Structures built more than 600,000 square-feet of structures and high-peak tents for the 2022 Scottsdale Auction at WestWorld of Scottsdale. The event is now the most successful auction in Barrett-Jackson’s 50-year history, with auction sales exceeding $203.2 million.

Smooth installation

The National Structures crew built more than 600,000 square feet of structure tenting and high-peak tents for the event. The crew installed 390 meters of 50-meter structure, with three structures joined, equaling 209,852 square feet of tenting. The installation took five weeks, and dismantling took approximately two weeks. “From connecting structures hosting thousands of cars to small vendor tents throughout the site, we helped to build an ambiance and immersive experience with tenting design that speaks to the soul of the collector car community,” Freeman says.

Despite the project scope, Freeman says installation went smoothly due to the amazing job the team did in planning for the project and fulfilling the client build needs. “Our team did a great job of communicating and scheduling,” he says. 

The project installation kicked off with 30 staff, and after three weeks, the company scaled down to 14. The only hitch the team encountered was minor: “Two custom tops were made incorrectly,” Freeman says. “But we were able to have them remade correctly to eliminate any delays.”

From large connecting structures hosting thousands of cars to small vendor tents throughout the site, National Structures helped to create an immersive experience with tenting design tailored to the collector car community.

Beyond the event

The visibility and attention National Structures gains through this partnership is difficult to measure—but it is undoubtedly good PR for the company. Not only do the auctions attract thousands of attendees, but the events are televised and livestreamed. With broadcast partner A+E Networks, Barrett-Jackson features live television coverage of its events on FYI and the History Channel.

More than 1,850 cars were sold during the event, 10 of which were sold for charity, raising more than $8.8 million, including an astonishing $3.6 million sale of the first-retail 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 50th Anniversary, VIN 001—which broke Barrett-Jackson’s record for the highest-selling manufacturer-donated charity car. The sale benefited Operation Homefront, an organization that assists military families. Car sales benefited a total of 10 charities, including the Barrow Neurological Foundation in Phoenix, the James Garner Animal Rescue Fund and the Mayo Clinic. All proceeds go directly to the designated charities without auction fees.

“Raising over $8.8 million for charity was the perfect way to honor our 50th anniversary,” says Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “It was an absolute honor to share our auction block with some of the world’s most influential artists and business leaders, including Pitbull, Bret Michaels and Henry Ford III, to raise both funds and awareness for many worthy causes. Our company’s roots are firmly planted in giving back to our community and I am confident my parents, Nellie and Russ, as well as Tom Barrett would be proud to see that we never lost sight of their philanthropic vision.” 

On every front, the 50th anniversary event was a huge success. Looking forward, National Structures expects to improve on what was already a streamlined installation. “You always find efficiencies when you do the same project again,” Freeman says. “We plan to shave a week off the install next year.” 

Sigrid Tornquist is a Minneapolis, Minn.-based writer and editor, and a former InTents editor.

SIDEBAR: By the numbers:

  • 209,852 total square feet of structure tents
  • 600,000+ square feet of engineered peak tents
  • 390 meters of 50-meter structures 
  • $203.2 million in car and car-related sales 
  • More than $8.8 million raised for charity

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