How many words can Dickson auctioneer Drew Williams say per minute?
He laughed and said he has no idea. But Williams, who is extra busy this week as the Dickson County Fair announcer, said talking fast is just one factor in the art and skill of bid-calling.
“Some auctioneers are fast, but they’re not really clear” on how much the actual bids are, said Williams, whose duties at the fair include announcing the arena events like the truck pull, RTV races and demolition derbies.
Williams owns American Realty and Auction LLC. He said his goal in auctioneering is to be just as easily understood “by an 80-year-old lady buying pots and pans” as a livestock buyer who’s a regular at auctions.
Williams, 36, has held many jobs including masonry and landscaping. Although he’s been an auctioneer for just a few years, he has risen to elite levels, capturing some big prizes in highly competitive contests while his career has taken off as well.
Williams won the reserve grand champion prize at this year’s Mule Day Bid Calling Championship in Columbia. The reserve grand champion is the second-place finisher, a major accomplishment for a prestigious event that draws contestants from multiple states.
Williams is the 2020 Tennessee state bid-calling champion, having won the November 2019 contest in Nashville for that title. And he was the 2019 Tennessee state rookie bid-calling champion, earning that title in a 2018 event.
“You’ve just got to practice a lot,” Williams said of auctioneering. Part of the craft is pronunciation, he said — finding “syllables that pop or roll.”
Besides running his own business with his wife, Williams works as an auctioneer for other companies outside of Dickson County.
One of the companies he partners with is James R. Cash Auctions & Real Estate in Murfreesboro. Williams said the most expensive home he has sold anywhere is in Murfreesboro, a property that fetched $357,500.
At a livestock auction, Williams recently sold a goat for $20,000.
Mostly, Williams is involved in livestock sales, home sales and estate sales. But he sells other items as well, and some of his business is conducted online.
One of the more unusual items he’s sold is an antique quilt-making device called a “rocker-beater bloom.” He sold it online to an Indiana purchaser for $850.
Williams is on the road a lot. He was working a show-and-sale event involving Boer goats over the Labor Day weekend at Tennessee Tech’s Hyder-Burks Agriculture Pavilion in Cookeville.
This week, though, the event calendar for Williams has him staying in the area.
Seems there’s something going at the Dickson County Fairgrounds, where his voice rises above the engines for the multiple arena events.
This is the third year that Williams has worked the fair. And if his excitement about calling Saturday night’s demolition derby is any indication, it certainly won’t be his last.