Champion auctioneer to host event
July 29, 2006
The rapidity and fluidity of a world-class auctioneer articulating a jumble of "going-going-gone" can raise the blood temperature of any aspiring buyer.
That’s auctioneer champion Bruce Brock’s goal to raise the intensity and entertain the crowd.
"It’s just like going to a concert." Brock said.
Brock will be the voice for the Kimball Art Auction and Gala on Aug. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kimball Art Center (KAC). Approximately $300,000 worth of items will be auctioned off to raise money for the KAC.
"We think it’s the best auction in the state of Utah," said Susan Thomas, public relations director for the KAC. "I mean the staff is so impressed with the art we have. It is the best art we’ve ever had; we are very impressed with the quality of the art and the variety of the artists. I just had a woman here who’s on the board of directors the art museum in Monterey. She’s seen a lot of art and she’s so impressed that she said, ‘You just couldn’t believe the quality of the art here.’"
The live and silent auctions will also include live music by Pungent Lilly, catering by Culinary Crafts and will feature wine by the Moab-based winery, Castle Creek Wines.
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"It’s a really important fundraiser; these events make the biggest fundraisers of the year. It’s a really fun event that people look forward to, this should be the best ever," Thomas said. "People are going to be very pleased."
Of all the events at the auction, Brock will be the main star. He is the first auctioneer to win the World Championship, International Championship and all three major livestock auctioneer championships in the same year. He has hosted numerous prestigious fundraisers throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is also a nationally renowned speaker and guest lecturer at the Smithsonian. His awards and credits could go on but it is his love of auctioneering that drives him.
"It’s really fun. It’s probably the most exciting lifestyle that I could imagine," Brock said. "I get to meet so many stars and professional athletes and people with big hearts that want to give to charities."
Before entertaining the crowd however, his first responsibility is to inform the public and give the proper credit and respect to all parties involved.
"Absolutely it’s a lot of entertainment, but first of all, we want to represent the Kimball Art Center and the folks that represent them as best we can and put them in the best light," Brock said. "We try to make it entertaining, instructional and informational so they understand the significance of what they’re buying. We try to make it entertaining and fun, it’s not near as long for the crowd and people have the opportunity of buying a piece of art that could be in their family for generations."
Brock said if he accomplishes those goals, the buyer gets what he wants and the artists are also given the credit they merit. He doesn’t want his show to take away from the artists.
"They need to be fairly represented," Brock said. "Painting this is their livelihood and it’s their creativity that makes the art what it is. It’s their vision and they have the ability to transfer their vision into a canvas and sculpture. There’s a fine line between entertaining the crowd and not giving the artists the respect they deserve."
His performance isn’t scripted. He chooses how to conduct the event according to the crowd. For some, a joke might be inappropriate, in other times the same joke will cause the crowd to be more engaged. He hopes people will leave the auction, not only satisfied with their new art but also talking about the auction.
"A lot of times it’s a spontaneous reaction with the crowd. It could be over something someone does, a funny thing they did or an interaction with crowd," Brock said. "We try to loosen the crowd up to give a spark to it. As the crowd catches on and becomes part of it I feed off the crowd.
"A lot of times you can’t pre-plan. I don’t do that. I feel each crowd out and find where they are. Some crowds are not there to be entertained, some are there to do business and not joke around. Sometimes we do auctions where it’s pretty straightforward. Art is only about the things that bring joy to people’s lives. The process of buying that at auction should be something that is enjoyable."
However, a top-notch auctioneer can’t go into an auction winging it, Brock said.
"You have to do a ton of homework," Brock said. "In our company, there are several people that do a lot of research on everything that we sell, whatever it might be that is high dollar. We need to know the history and the prominence of the art. An auctioneer needs to be able to disseminate the information in a short period of time. We don’t have time to look things up. You get out of it in direct proportion of what you put into it."
Brock worked on his talent several hours a day, every day to become the auctioneer he is today, he said. After he went to the College of Auctioneering in Iowa, he set up a sound stage and practiced with recordings and videos of past world champions until he became proficient at it.
"It was my goal to be a world-class auctioneer," Brock said. "After I got through with the school I was absolutely enthralled in the auctioneering of marketing, it creates so much excitement and enthusiasm. There’s a reason that all of the high end art is put up for auction. People get caught up in the urgency. We get caught up in it to."
To kick off the Arts Festival on Aug. 5 and 6, the Kimball Art Auction and Gala will be held Aug. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kimball Art Center from 6 to 9 p.m., approximately $300,000 worth of items will be auctioned off to raise money for the KAC. Limited reservations are available. For tickets and more information, call 649-8882 or email frontdesk
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