I can remember vividly the first livestock auction I went to with my dad. It was a bull auction at Purdue University. I remember him telling me any movement I made could be interpreted as a bid by the auctioneer, even simply scratching my nose. I was terrified, and my nose itched perpetually through the whole auction.
Finally a bull my dad wanted came into the ring and he looked at me, handed me the bidder number and said "you bid, but only when I tell you."
Holy cow! Well, holy bull technically, but now I had to watch the auctioneer and listen to my dad and not scratch my nose. It was 10 times more terrifying than my wedding day or giving birth to my children.
Related: The 5 Types of Auction-goers
I was convinced the auctioneer would see my dad telling me to bid, count my dad as a bid, then when I bid count me as the next bid. I would be bidding against myself – the whole ordeal had my head spinning. But I did it. I don't exactly remember if that is even the bull we bought, but the feeling and the atmosphere was exhilarating.
I still love livestock auctions but to this day about the only thing I won't do in the midst of an auction is scratch my nose. The funny thing now that I am an adult is that I realize that auctioneers are pretty smart people, and my dad knew this at the time. Nobody is going to sell a bull to a little girl scratching her nose!
It is the exact same tactic I taught all three of my kids and it works. I have never seen my kids sit as still as they do in a livestock auction. Sometimes I consider taking them to one just to prove to myself they can sit still!