WILNO – Leonard Daly has been a resident of the Valley for all 66 years of his rich and varied life. From a young age, he had a gift that set him apart from a lot of other children – he had an innate ability to speak at a fast rate.
Growing up in a farming community, Daly took an exceptional liking to going to farm auctions with his father and listening to the chants of the auctioneers.
“I just liked going to auctions with my dad because he went to a lot of auctions so as a kid, that’s what got me into it and interested in it. Then I started practicing all of the chants the auctioneers and all of that and it really pulled me in,” Daly said.
These auctions would showcase and sell every kind of farming equipment and machinery one could think of, and would sometimes even include normal household items.
Daly enjoyed the quick nature of the auctioneers’ chants and the ability to be in front of a large crowd.
In 1972, Daly had grown into quite an avid auction-goer and found out about a special auctioneering school in Mason City, Iowa called Riesch Auction College.
“I took my training at Riesch Auction College back in 1972 in Mason City, Iowa. I remember June 11 was our first day of school,” Daly noted.
Daly remembers the director of the college, Joe Riesch, as being an incredibly smart but stern teacher who had little time or tolerance for bad behaviour.
“He wanted people to work hard and he’d always say ‘If you don’t want to put in the work, the door is open, and out you go.’ Oh yeah – he was tough,” Daly added.
Recalling Riesch’s strict nature, Daly remembered that Riesch once made students cut their long hair once their tuition was paid.
“Well the tuition was non-refundable so these long-haired guys showed up to register and once they paid, Riesch told them ‘Ok – you’re registered. Now you’re getting haircuts or you’re going home,’” Daly added.
While attending the college that enrolled a class of 165 students, Daly learned how to use and control his voice so that he could speak for hours on end.
“You have to know how to handle your voice really good. You usually have to take something for your voice – something like Halls cough drops or something that helps your throat. Drink something warm but you can’t drink anything cold. I’ve had that experience,” he said.
In his many years of auctioneering, Daly has learned how to use his voice for as long as he needs to, and sometimes for a full day of speaking and chanting.
“They train you in school how to handle your voice. You try not to use your throat – you actually use your chest more. Between that, there are ways of breathing in between. It’s a special way of training. Sometimes, I would talk for eight to 10 hours. I’ve had sales right through from 9 o’clock in the morning to 10 o’clock in the evening,” Daly said.Story continues in the July 4 issue of The Valley Gazette.