By DAWNE LEIKER
Don Hamit, longtime member of the Kansas Auctioneer's Association, was at a loss for words when he recently was honored as Kansas Auctioneer of the Year by the organization.
"They made me speechless is what they did," he said, recalling from his Stockton office the Jan. 12 award presentation. "That doesn't happen very often."
Hamit was kept in the dark about his award from the association until the night of its presentation during the KAA convention in Manhattan.
"They start out with a PowerPoint presentation, with baby pictures," he said. "And I said, 'I recognize that guy.'
"Then I looked up and all my family was there. My mother, she turned 90, and some grandsons were there. ... My brother from Topeka, and my other brother from Tulsa, Okla."
Other family, coworkers and friends also were on hand to celebrate the evening with Hamit, who has served on the KAA board of directors as vice president, president and chairman of the board.
Hamit will mark 30 years as an auctioneer in December and said he has seen a good deal of changes in the business since he performed his first auction chant decades ago.
One thing he's observed is household and antique sales no longer are the bread and butter of the business.
"Right now, land, guns and coins are big," he said. "And I don't know how much longer we'll be able to sell guns."
Hamit said it's likely some changes in legislation are coming that might affect an auction company's ability to sell firearms. However, he said he is grateful to belong to an organization such as the KAA, which notifies its members of legislative mandates and a wide range of other topics.
"We were in business 10 years before I ever got involved in the association," Hamit said. "If there's anything I ever regretted about the business, it was that. Knowing now what a benefit the association's been to me as far as education and keeping be abreast of the times, I should have been involved a lot sooner."