The Buck Up Story
Buck Up Auctions was born out of frustrated prayer several years ago. I had been quite content with a career in TV Ad Sales (first NBC, then Cable TV), but found myself unsatisfied & disagreeing with how certain things were being handled. I remember saying: “God, I know I was supposed to be here, but I know you are finished with me now, but I don’t know what to do next.” Laugh if you want, but the thought of being an auctioneer ran across my brain. I thought that it was strange, but I wrote it down in my journal & called my Dad the next morning – who then called my Uncle Melvin who is a well-respected cattleman & livestock auctioneer – who then told me I would be helping him sell at a Church Feast for a little Catholic Church in Plum, TX. I was like….WHAT?! I don’t even have a chant…… I mean I don’t even know if I sound good!!! He told me I had a couple weeks to work on it & so there I sat…thinking: “I told Daddy not to open his big mouth! Well now I’ve gotta do it! At least I don’t know that many people in Plum.”
So what I did next was get on You Tube & watched ALL KINDS of videos of auctioneers, but the ones I studied the MOST were that of: John Korrey & Cookie Lockhart. I even watched a video of Josie Graves. The likes of her & Cookie were quite inspiring….being GREATLY aware that the number of ladies behind the mic was the vast minority. I played with filler words to see what worked & just practiced, practiced, PRACTICED. I’d be sellin’ to fence posts as I drove down the road.
So next thing you know I was riding with Uncle Mele to the Plum Church Feast…nervous as all get-out. I mean…so nervous that he told me I didn’t have to do it. I looked at him & said “I guess the worst that can happen is I’m not very good & you can take the mic back…right?” He laughed that deep belly laugh & we just went on down the road. I remember he put me out in the front first, to spot the bidders and get an idea where the more frequent bidders would be. I’m SO thankful he did that….although I think those church fellas were wondering what the heck I was doing up there.
I got up there and I sold my first item & remember the very first person I sold something to. I got a round of applause. About 5 items in, I did what I was the most concerned about doing, & that was lose my bidder. I made a joke & said…. “Now I know you’re out there & I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I need you to just raise your hand for me again & I PROMISE I won’t forget you again!” The crowd just laughed & the bidder raised his hand. That auction was the starting point. I mean….I got so much encouragement & I’m kind of taking it all in, in an astonished state. I mean….I LITERALLY had no idea if people would respond to me how I needed them to….IF I wanted to be an auctioneer.
I called a few more fundraisers, around the tri-county area & realized that I NEEDED to pursue this as a career. I had no idea what it looked like & at that time, no idea of this MUCH bigger world of auctions. I got online & looked at the dates for the next available auction school. I was still working FULL-time as an Account Executive in Cable TV Ad Sales, so I was limited on when I could take off. I wound up attending Mr. Will Moon’s school in Waco, Texas. His classes fell two weeks before our big sales event & if I didn’t go then, I’d have to wait 6 months or better for another, and I’m not much for waitin’ around.
I don’t know how else to explain it, except that I felt like people gravitated to me….almost instantly. I just asked questions after questions & really sat there just soaking up every little bit of information I could pick up from everyone.
I went and took the State Auctioneer Exam in Corpus Christi, TX & was an official licensed auctioneer by November 2011. After calling several auctioneers in the area, a fella by the name of Danny Jennings with ELCO Auction gave me a shot & told me to come to one of his monthly consignment auctions, work as a ring woman, & see if I liked it. They sold anything from Dale Earnhardt Race Cars to hog traps…. Hovercrafts to Rolex Watches….collector baseball cards & comic books to tools... I think you get my drift. I’d help him with bankruptcy auctions & fundraising auctions & these consignment auctions & he….TO THIS DAY…. Serves as a resource to me.
All I can say is my view of the auction world totally opened up. When I first had the idea, all I really knew about were livestock auctions & fundraising auctions. I’ve called bids at everything from an oil & gas asset liquidation auction to consignment auctions selling someone’s grandma’s dishes. I’ve had slam dunk auctions & I’ve had auctions I’d like to forget. I’ve helped non-profits more than double their money from the previous year. I’ve helped individuals like: young mothers battling cancer, families of tragedy, trauma victims, scholarship organizations, chamber of commerce offices, education foundations & a plethora of other individuals and organizations.
As I look back through my life, all the cattle auctions my brother, sister, and I went with Uncle Mele to & all the local fundraisers we attended were kind of like fertilizer on me, but when my family & I found out my Daddy needed a liver transplant….that was the MIRACLE GROW. I didn’t pick up on it right away, but I do remember helping Uncle Melvin & the rest of my family organize auctions for all the different fundraising events we had. I remember just talking to a friend, whose mother just happened to work for one of the local newspapers. She was an old friend of my Dad’s & I really thought when she stopped to talk to me, she was just checking in on him. The next thing you know….there was an article about my Dad & what we were doing on the front page of the newspaper. We had SO many auction items come in for the first one that we had to spread the items out throughout the other 2 big fundraisers we had. This happened while I was attending college at Texas State University in San Marcos, working on my BA in Mass Communication, so I’ve had a lot of time to think about this.
It took me quite some time to wrap my head around WHY complete strangers were dropping off items….why some individuals & business owners contributed as much as they did, knowing they may not see that amount of money come back to them from our family. It took me a minute to wrap my head around the fact that we paid the band & the caterer & the venue out of the money we raised at the auctions & still cleared $90,000. A few years wiser now, I know that our hearts are what leads most of us. People WANT to give, WANT to help, and WANT to contribute to the well-being of others. I saw & will NEVER forget the power of the live auction method of sale…EVER. I’m happy to say close to 10 years later….my Daddy has had the ability to see & play with all 3 of his grandbabies!
What’s interesting about all of this, is I was being conditioned a long time ago, for where I am now. I’ve come into agreement with the fact that I have the power to go out & help specific causes and individuals raise money. I mean….we REALLY have the power to make a difference in the lives of others, & that’s nothin’ to mess around with.
I am very protective of this gift & calling on my life. It’s important to me, that the people I work with know why I do what I do & that they enjoy it & that there is ALWAYS an open line of communication between them & me. I will NEVER stop learning & will continue to educate myself for myself & the sake of my clients. I believe that we were all created uniquely & that, even though some of us possess the same gifts, we are called to use them differently. I do my very best to run my own race & focus on what is in front of me.
I have been BLESSED with a wonderful team of just….STAND-UP individuals. Really…..I COULD NOT DO THIS WITHOUT THEM & I MEAN THAT
I hope this story encourages YOU! Buck Up & don’t be afraid to step out into the unknown & do something that seems totally off in left field. CHALLENGE yourself!! Why not?! You can always make more money or find another job.
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson