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Winnipeg Free Press article on Tim Dowler winning 2006 Man/Sask Livestock Auction Competition:

"Mega-fast, smooth talker could be the nation's best!"

Tue Apr 11 2006

By Jen Skerritt


HE can sell anything from cattle to a brand-new Hummer, spot when a slight flick of the wrist is a bid and articulate "Betty bought a bit of butter" at warp speed.

Auctioneer Tim Dowler knew by the time he was nine years old he wanted to be at the front of a crowd, and last weekend his lightning-fast mouth helped make him a champion.

On Saturday, Dowler beat out a dozen other auctioneers from Manitoba and Saskatchewan to win the Manitoba Saskatchewan Livestock Auctioneering Championship in Melita, Man. He's now heading to Kamloops, B.C. on May 12 to compete against more than 30 auctioneers from across Canada for the national title.

"It's kind of funny because I don't really talk fast in conversations," he said, after belting out a string of cattle prices in a mere few seconds. "I'm just living my dream."

Contestants were judged on their style, timing, rhythm, clarity and mannerism, and Irene Nickel, secretary-treasurer of the Manitoba Auctioneers Association, said Dowler was a cut above the rest.

Nickel said Dowler does a good job of engaging his audience and always ensures the bidder's voice gets heard. Dowler has been competing in the annual championship since 1999, and ranked among the top six finalists in the past five years.

"He has a very good rapport with the crowd," Nickel said. "He's got a friendly face and he's easy to listen to."

Dowler spent two weeks in 1995 learning the trade at the Auctioneering Institute of Canada in Strathmore, Alta., where he honed his tongue-twisting skills and learned how to train his eye to catch multiple bids at once. Since 1997, he has been working as a full-time auctioneer for Winnipeg Livestock Sales, Adesa Auto Auctions and his own auction company, Lamport and Dowler Auction Service.

In a few short years, Dowler has sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, ranging from household antiques to high-end luxury automobiles. He's worked 18-hour days, stood in front of demanding crowds and been called "every dirty name in the book" by sour losing bidders. But for Dowler, the high-pressure environment is all part of the rush.

Even after being laid off for three months during the height of the mad cow crisis, Dowler said he couldn't imagine doing anything else as a career.

"I love it too much to let it go," he said. "I don't think there's any higher rush than when you're selling a pen full of cattle worth $100,000."

Dowler said the auctioneering industry is constantly becoming more competitive, and he estimates that there are between 200 and 300 live auctioneers working across the province.

He said the secret to his non-slurring success is warming up with several tongue-bending sentences and practising in the shower.


Stonewall Argus article:

"Going once, going twice...sold!"
Auctioneer heading to Canadian championships

By Trish Hogue
Friday April 28, 2006

Stonewall Argus & Teulon Times — When he was seven years old, Tim Dowler went to his first cattle auction with his dad, John Dowler, who is a professional cattle buyer.
Since that auction, Dowler knew he wanted to be “the guy on the other side of the fence” – the auctioneer.
“I never let go of that dream,” Dowler said.
Twenty-five years later, he is one of the few people in Canada that makes his living solely as an auctioneer, and he is very good at what he does.
“I’m kind of a rarity in a way because I make my full-time living at auctioning. A lot of farm auctioneers do it on the weekend, plus they work a day job, but it is my exclusive full-time job. All I do is sell,” Dowler said.
Dowler is an auctioneer at Winnipeg Livestock Sales on Highway 236, and he recently won the Manitoba/Saskatchewan Livestock Auctioneer Championships in Melita, MB. Next he will be heading to the Canadian Livestock Auctioneer Championships in Kamloops, B.C on May 12.
At an auction championship, explains Dowler, competitors are judged on the following criteria: bid spotting, professionalism, rhythm, clarity of voice and voice control.
Dowler said it’s important that buyers like the sound and rhythm of your voice because oftentimes an auction can go all day, and it’s important that a buyer can sit and listen to an auctioneer’s voice for a long period of time.
“I’ve always had decent rhythm, and buyers like that I have good clarity,” Dowler said.
But Dowler doesn’t just sell livestock.
He is also sells cars at Adesa Auto Auctions, and he has his own company, Lamport and Dowler where he does everything from farm to estate sales.
“That’s what give me an advantage over other guys,” Dowler said. “I can sell all sorts of things. I sell cattle, farm sales, everything.”
Dowler has been auctioning professionally for the past nine years, and he said his voice has developed more stamina since then.
“When I first started, my voice would be hoarse the next day, and now it’s to the point where I can do it (sell cattle) all day on a Friday, and then I can go and do a farm sale or antique sale on a Saturday and not skip a beat.”
Dowler said the longest auction he has ever done went from 8 a.m. on a Friday to 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday evening.
Dowler’s father John is very proud of him, and when he won the recent Manitoba/Saskatchewan Livestock Auction Championships, he was very emotional.
“He was crying out in the hall, he couldn’t even come in,” said Dowler who is excited to go Kamloops for the upcoming Canadian Livestock Auction Championships.
He hopes to do very well at the upcoming competition, and in the meantime he will continue to sell, sell, sell.
“I live breath and sleep auction,” Dowler said.