Welcome to Brett’s Corner – a monthly column by the 2006 Bingo Caller Of The Year and GalaTV caller Brett Hyrjak.
Bingo Caller Of The Year: My Journey So Far
My first experience of calling was a daunting one, as I had been working in Bingo for about two months, and I knew that the job was quite a prominent position in the club. The caller is the focus of the whole session and if anything goes wrong then the caller is the first one to blame.
My major fear was missing a claim as I felt I couldn’t deal with the confrontation of a customer having a go at me. So in the beginning, I called slower than a sloth on a tea break! What I soon learnt though was that Bingo players don’t suffer fools gladly and very soon after I was told to “hurry up” and “I got a bus to catch!”After that I decided to call Bingo the way I would like to play it myself, and as my calling developed, so did my knowledge and my confidence on the Bingo stage.
It was during my third year of calling that I decided to enter the Bingo Caller Of The Year competition. However, my manager at the time refused me to enter the competition (to this very day I can never understand why!) I was a bit gutted but when the application form arrived I decided to enter it anyway. It was during this time that another Bingo club (Gala) opened up in the town and I contacted them in the off chance that they were looking for a caller who wanted to enter the Caller Of The Year.
They jumped ant the chance to take me and with that I handed in my notice at the independent and joined the ‘big boys’. Within 3 months I had won the regional Bingo title for the south of England and I heard after I had won that my ex-manager had been furious, demanding to know why I had never entered the competition when I worked for them. It took her assistant manager to remind her I had wanted to but had been blocked by her!
I still think to this day that if my old manager in the small independent club I worked for had said yes to entering me then I would still be working for them, but maybe, if that was the case I would not be where I am now; and in a way I thank her for her lack of faith in me as it made me more determined to succeed as a caller!
Once I was the regional caller of the year in 2003 my life in Bingo changed. Even though I missed out on the grand title that year (I was pipped to the post by a great caller called Mike Vyse) doors opened for me in Gala that would not have normally been opened otherwise. It was the start of a roller coaster ride for the next three years which reached its peak just a couple of months ago with being crowned the Bingo Caller Of The Year! Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime!
Brett Hyrjak, March 2007