by Malissa Hudson
“Why is that man talking so fast?” “What are they saying? I don’t understand what’s going on because I can’t see!” These were all questions I asked my mother as she and I and her ex-husband went to horse auctions. Growing up in mostly Southern states, I was always around horses, dogs, cows, and any other animal you could think of, but as a totally blind person, I didn’t care one bit about any of it. My mother’s ex-husband was abusive, and because of the abuse that I endured as a child, I was forced by him to go to anything that was horse-related, including horse sales. I didn’t care about the auctions, but I was always intrigued by what the auctioneer was saying.
I’ve been extremely blessed to live in the state of Washington for the last 18 years, and I’ve been a member of the Washington Council of the Blind and ACB for almost 17 years. I’ve had opportunities that I never thought were possible. When the ACB Community Events started on March 17, 2020, I remember thinking that I’d love to facilitate calls and maybe do some other things as well.
In June of 2022, my roommate had a medical issue, and our apartment had to be deep cleaned. As I was sitting out in my patio enjoying the wonderful, sunshiny Seattle day, I had a crazy idea to facilitate a community call on auctioneering. I wanted a professional auctioneer to be my guest speaker, but I didn’t know anyone in the industry. After doing my research, and contacting five auctioneers that I saw on YouTube, there was no success. I thought, “This isn’t going to happen.”
One day, I went back on YouTube, and I watched an auctioneer contest at the 2018 Calgary Stampede. The first contestant to compete was a gentleman from Boyne City, Mich. named Wade Leist. I visited his website and sent him an invitation to be a presenter for the community; he graciously accepted.
On Sept. 21, 2022, Wade and I facilitated the call, which I entitled, “The Art of Auctioneering: What Are They Saying?” Wade touched on different topics relating to the auction industry, but the most important aspect is the “auction chant.” The auction chant is basically words and numbers put to rhythm to communicate to bidders the amount bid, and the next amount being asked. In addition, the other part of the chant is using what auctioneers refer to as “filler words.” Filler words are those words that connect the numbers and help add rhythm. Common filler words and phrases are dollar, now, dollar now, bid, dollar bidder, would you go, able to buy, dollar down here, dollar over here, make it. Of course, we could not end the call without Wade selling something for us. Wade held a “mock” fundraiser where the winning bidder had the chance to bid on the opportunity to visit a local kennel where guide dogs are trained. You and four friends get to name the dog, have dinner, and learn about the training program. After some bidding took place, I and another ACB member from Louisiana together raised $60,000 to help ACB! It was quite the fundraiser!!!
As members of this organization, we are all challenged in one way or another, whether it would be in our local chapters, state, or special-interest affiliates. You may be asked to do a leadership position that you never anticipated, and you thought to yourself, “I’ll never make it.” Or perhaps, “I just can’t do this.” However, once we do that thing we never thought we could do, it’s the greatest reward for yourself, committee, affiliate, or maybe even in your current place of work.
One of my very favorite movies is “Akeelah and the Bee.” When Akeelah struggles to perform in the school’s spelling bee, she started receiving some coaching from a professor, and he challenged her to learn difficult words. The professor gave her this quote from Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”
Remember, at the next auction for ACB, bid, bid, bid!!!