The rhythmic jibber of the auctioneer drowns out the noise of the crowd, stern faced buyers focus to hear each word and number as the auctioneer rattles on. People new the sale barn have confused and questioning faces. Unfamiliar with the rhythmic cadence of words and numbers new comers find bidding to be confusing. One new comer waves wildly in the air to get the auctioneer’s attention, not realizing he is the high bid at the moment.
Attending the sale barn is one of my very few social events. I go each week to check the market price, see old faces and meet new ones. The market report is posted every Monday after the sale, so I really do not need to go to learn the prices. I am not purchasing any sheep at this time, but sometimes I find it hard to fall for the auctioneer’s song.
Why attend a sale, when I am not selling or buying, unless I just happen to fall under the auctioneer’s spell? I like to meet my friends and fellow sheep and goat farmers and perhaps a new friend or two.
I also enjoy watching the people, instead of going to crowded shopping areas, I like the livestock scene better. A person can pick out a new comer at the auction instantly. Not because you have not seen them before, but by their lost, confused expression and bidding behavior, such as wildly waving the arms to get attention. I enjoy helping people and helping others understand what is going on.
Most often I am asked how to you know what the auctioneer is saying? Well, you have to learn to listen. Take some time and focus on the repeated number, the highest repeated number is what will be the next bid, provided someone motions to buy. When the animal is sold, the auctioneer says sold and the price.
The auctioneer’s rattle of jibber is a song and dance for the bidder. Each buyer has their own secretive way of telling the auctioneer they are interested in the animal or animals and when the are bidding and when they quit.
My signs to the auctioneer if I am interested I stand up or raise up in my seat. I only barely nod my head when I bid and I look down when I quit. Simple right? But some bidders, is a finger shaking to bid, or to get up and leave when they are done with the bidding on the animal, only to go back and sit once it is sold.
There is an individual and strange dance between the auctioneer and the bidder, one new comers have to learn to dance with. My advice for those wanting to bid at any auction, is to attend three or four auctions of any kind, the learn the auctioneer song. There are videos on YouTube and TikTok of auctioneers singing, listen to these to get acquainted. The auction can be a fun place to gather. Most people who attend are willing to help you with your bidding on the animals you are interested in. And most important, have fun.