Auctioneer enjoys fair work


Some folks going to the Delaware County Junior Fair’s sales on Sept. 20-21 have no intention of buying any livestock, they just enjoy the drama and spectacle of the auction.

One of the auctioneers who help with the sale is Collin Howard, owner of Howard Auctions LLC in Delaware, and a Gazette employee.

“I grew up going to them with my dad all the time, and they always piqued my interest,” Howard said. With support from his wife, Howard recently changed careers and spent a year learning to be an auctioneer. There is 80 hours of training and a year’s apprenticeship with a state-licensed auctioneer.

Part of the training is learning the auctioneer’s unique patter, called a chant. Auctioneers often practice their timing while driving, chanting while counting fence posts or telephone poles.

“It’s a country version of a metronome,” Howard said. “You get into a rhythm.”

That rhythm generates sales.

“It creates an atmosphere of excitement and makes people want to participate,” he said. “Especially at a Junior Fair, when you get two people bidding against each other, you’re going fast because you want to lock them into bids.”

The bidding is often friendly, but not always.

“It’s funny to watch enemies — two people who are bidding on something that has no value to them, but they’re just running the other up because they don’t like the other person.”

An auctioneer can work different kinds of sales, such as estate auctions, automobiles, homes, fundraisers, even selling produce for the Amish. However, the gentlemen doing this year’s Delaware County Junior Fair — Dan Boysel, Chip Carpenter, Rex Strine, Wes Wigton and newbie Howard — volunteer their services.

Howard, who grew up in 4-H and has sold animals at the fair when he was younger, understands what the Junior Fair participants are going through.

“You’re there to make money for the kids, so you’re trying to have fun,” he said. “Every animal is going for x number of dollars — nobody wants to see one kid not get that much. You find out what that (average sale) number might be for the night, but no kid’s going home with $50. Everybody realizes what they’ve sacrificed over the last couple months or year. The kids are always happy, and get a few hundred dollars.”

This year’s Junior Fair sales are at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20 (for rabbits, poultry, beef, baked goods, market goats and dairy product) in the Junior Fair Show Arena; and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21 (for pigs and market lambs) in the Pig and Lamb Barn.

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By Gary Budzak

gbudzak@civitasmedia.com

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.