A True Story by David G. Helmer
It was easy really. Just follow my steps and you are ¾ of the way there. The following account will give you a glimpse into the mind and actions of a champion.
As I was beginning to dress for the competition I realized that I could not find my suit. I looked everywhere for it. My wife and three year old daughter were sharing the room with me and they were down at the pool, and I couldn’t get a hold of them to say, “Where the heck is my suit”. I figured that they must have put it somewhere. As time crept by I realized that I would have to wear plane B. Now plan B was my suit of 8 years. Which I look fine in unbuttoned and usually slipped the jacket off after making a professional entrance. See I was thinking of the advice that Mike Jones gave me on the competition, “Always have your jacket buttoned”. Well that’s fine in my new suit, but in my old one, I look like an overripe tomato with it buttoned. (I must have gained a lot of muscle over the last few years). Anyway, time crept on and it was time to get to the competition. A quick bathroom break and I’ll be on my way. As I closed the door, I saw on a hook behind the door, under a robe was my new suit! Well overcome with joy I switched out my clothes. Relaxing with the find I let time slip away and when I checked the clock, it showed one minute to check in. I sprinted the half mile to check in and made it on the dot. As I drew my contestant number I realized that sweat was rolling down my head. When I say rolling, I mean pouring. You see I don’t have the dam of hair that I used to. Not a big deal, I headed to the bathroom for that visit I so desperately needed and to get a wipe down for my head. As I flushed the urinal handle a jet of water blasted out of the handle and hit me in the midsection, leaving a wet spot about the size of a baseball. Luckily my jacket was open. I considered my options but decided to pass on the above mentioned suit and that with a buttoned jacket most people wouldn’t notice. I wiped my head and face down with a paper towel and noticed in the mirror that the fuzz from the towel was stuck on my whiskers and causing my face to turn red. Not a big deal I said, calm down and relax until my turn, I’m sure everything was running smoothly with the fun auction. You see I was the convention chair; my job was to make sure things were running on time and smoothly. I was exhausted and going on 3 hours sleep. Also, I had lost about half my voice from talking too much and was worried that I might hit a few high notes during the competition. So, I peeked in on how the fun auction was going. To my dismay I found out that it hadn’t started yet, about 20 or so minutes behind. I found the head of the Fun Auction and with as few harsh words as possible got that on track.
I drew a high number for the competition and at that point really wanted to get it over with. I sat back and waited my turn. I said a little prayer and closed my eyes for five minutes. A funny thing happened when it was my turn. I wasn’t nervous, my voice which was worn out had a little more timber to it, and inside I was laughing about the big wet spot I was concealing. I auctioned my items and when I got off the stage, I thought maybe, just maybe. When they called my number as a finalist I was excited, but at that point my nerves started jumping.
All my calmness was gone and Michael Vinecki (who was also a finalist) immediately started messing with me saying, “you got this in the bag”, “you will win for sure”, and “they should just give you the award now”, I know he was teasing, because I wasn’t the only one he was saying it to! Anyway, I went up there, sold, answered the questions and got off the stage.
The rest as they say is history. It really is one of my proudest moments. My family and partners were all there. My Wife and daughter were so excited and I could tell my dad was really proud. I haven’t told many people about the lead up to the championship because I didn’t want them copying me as a formula for success, but the cat is out of the bag so have at it. Just do exactly like I did and you will have yourself a trophy!
I have attended Braun and Helmer auctions for over 25 years - I always look forward to a congenial and interesting event.
Jim Klein - Adrian, Michigan