XENIA — She recites the Betty Botta tongue twister as if she were giving directions to the Fairgrounds grandstand. It’s all part of the training Samantha Gilliland, 26, went through to become an auctioneer.
In fact, she recently became the first female auctioneer to call a livestock sale at the Greene County Fair last week.
Considering that she excelled in Public Speaking contests at the very same fair as a kid, it just seems right that Samantha would become the fair’s first female auctioneer.
Gilliland broke into the Jungle Book nursery rhyme to provide an example of the kinds of tongue twisters she learned to speak very quickly at the Ohio Auctioneer’s School in Columbus.
“Betty Botta bought some butter;
“But,” said she, “this butter’s bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o’ better butter
Will but make my batter better.”
Then she bought a bit o’ butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So ’twas better Betty Botta
Bought a bit o’ better butter.”
(She said that in 6.7 seconds!)
An apprentice auctioneer for two years with sponsor Mike Brown at Mike’s Auction Service, of Jamestown, Gilliland earned her auctioneer’s license in May. Serving the post of Ringman (the person who takes the bids for the auctioneer) for the past two years, she made her Greene County Fair auctioning debut on Thursday, Aug. 3 calling bids for the fair’s champion chickens.
“That was very nerve wracking!” she said with an infectious smile. “My first two chickens that I called, yeah, that was very nerve wracking. But after that third one, I just sat on my stool and I just went with it.”
She auctioned off the fair’s top rabbits on Aug. 4. In the time it would take most of us to rattle off that Betty Botta bunch o’ butter lyric, Gilliland had whisked her way through several rabbit sales with nary a slip.
Originally from Cedarville, Gilliland followed her older brother and sister, Zachariah and Chelsea Pitstick, through the 4-H program.
“I always was in the livestock barns, so I was always around the auctions,” she said. “I got to be good on a microphone through my public speaking contests. … I went to college for two years to do something similar, but my interest turned to auctioneering. And here I am!”
Her goal is to some day serve as auctioneer at real estate sales.
“I enjoy doing the livestock auctions, and it’s a good way to develop my skills as an auctioneer. Eventually, I’d like to get involved in the real estate sales. That’s a whole different ball game,” she said.
Gilliland had some advice for anyone who had an interest in becoming an auctioneer.
“Go to every auction that you can go to. Listen to the auctioneers, to what they say and how they say it. Go to an auctioneering school. Find a sponsor, and just start doing it. You’ll get nervous, but you’ll have some of the best supporters for you in the nation. Us auctioneers, we kinda stick together,” she said.
With a few years of intense work, some knowledge of the mathematics of the auction business and plenty of fast speaking tongue twister exercises under your belt, you too could be making headlines as a public auctioneer.
You’ll be speaking quickly, clearly and smoothly on the auctioneer’s stool.
John is about halfway through the Betty Botta lyrics. He won’t be auctioning off rabbits any time soon. To contact John, give him a call at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.