Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fast-Talking Salesman; Hilliard: His Voice Keeps Auctions Moving in Rhythm

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fast-Talking Salesman; Hilliard: His Voice Keeps Auctions Moving in Rhythm

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

"Rhythm. It's just rhythm."

That's the secret of how auctioneers can talk so fast, said Roy J. Brewer Jr..

Just as everybody naturally falls into a rhythm when they count by fives, auctioneers practice reciting numbers forward and backward until the rhythm of counting is automatic, he said.

"You count one to 100, 100 to one until the numbers are secondary," Brewer, 45, said. "You don't have to think about them."

After only three years in the auctioneering trade, the Hilliard resident already has shown he's got rhythm.

Before he was licensed to be an auctioneer, Brewer took rookie of the year honors in the Florida Auctioneers Association's annual auctioneering contest in 1999, and placed in the top 10. During the organization's meeting in December, Brewer came in second, one point behind one of his instructors at auctioneering school.

During a salvage auto auction in Jacksonville last week, Brewer's rhythm set the pace for more than 70 cars lying in various states of destruction to be auctioned off in less than an hour.

"Six and half now seven?" he called his voice rising questioningly on seven. "Six and half now seven?"

Brewer said his natural showmanship has helped him as an auctioneer, as well as his 20-year career as a square-dance caller. Brewer has sung all his life, and as a college student at Middle Georgia State, where he studied engineering, he was in three bands.

As a square-dance caller, Brewer said, he needed to be flexible enough to adapt his calls to the capabilities of the dancers, and clear enough so they could hear and know what move he was asking of them.

"Clarity is paramount," he said. "If the dancers can't hear what you want them to do, they can't do it."

Brewer became skilled enough that he was a caller at a national square dance convention held in Seattle in 1981.

He was introduced to calling auctions at square dances, which occasionally had short auctions to raise funds for charities. He went on to regularly volunteer to conduct charitable auctions. But it wasn't until he was approached by a professional auctioneer after he led a fund-raising auction at a hunt ball that he considered auctioneering as a career.

"I never realized you could make a living being an auctioneer," Brewer said.

That realization led Brewer to the Florida Auction School in Ocala in October 1999. What put him ahead of others at auction school was his familiarity with the microphone and his ease on stage, Brewer said.

"The butterflies were years ago," he said. "I love the performing aspect of it. I'm still learning the business aspect."

He went on to get his Florida license in January 2000. He founded Brewer Auction Service the same year, and he specializes in conducting business liquidation and personal property auctions. …

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