Iowa auctioneer wins World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier
Russele Sleep, Bedford, Iowa, was named Champion at the 2016 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) Western Regional Qualifying Event. St. Onge Livestock in St. Onge, S.D. hosted the first of three WLAC qualifying events on Friday, October 16. A total of 22 contestants competed for a top 10 placing, granting them a spot in the 2016 WLAC at Paris Stockyards in Paris, Ky.
In 2004, Sleep attended auctioneer school at Missouri Auction School and following, took his first auctioneering job selling weigh cows and bulls at the Maryville, Mo., location for United Producers, Inc. His career has progressed from there, and Sleep now sells five weekly livestock auctions.
Having competed in WLAC qualifying events since 2009, Sleep is no rookie to the contest. He’s qualified for the WLAC five consecutive years, and notes his largest goal for 2016 is to win the World Livestock Auctioneer Champion title. From now until the June contest, Sleep plans to “keep working hard, really practice for the WLAC interview and stay in touch with markets and the industry.”
“I love being an auctioneer. If it’s something you’re really passionate about, it’s not a job. I like helping producers get all that their product is worth, and being part of the livestock marketing industry, ” said Sleep.
Sleep was sponsored by Clarinda Livestock Auction Inc., Clarinda, Iowa; Fort Scott Livestock Market, Inc., Fort Scott, Kan.; SEK Stockyards, LLC, Gas, Kan.; and Russell Livestock Market, Russell, Iowa.
Also making a great showing were Reserve Champion Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa, Runner-Up Brennin Jack, Prince Albert, Sask., and Top Rookie Dan Koupal, Dante, S.D. The remaining contestants who earned a top ten finish are Dan Clark, Winner, S.D.; Mike Godberson, Pawnee, Okla., Lynden Judy, Omaha, Ark.; Duane Rus, Rock Valley, Iowa; Ethan Schuette, Washington, Kan.; and Preston Smith, Imperial, Neb.
A live cattle sale took place with actual bidders in the seats. Contestants were judged on the clarity of their auction chant; vocal quality; ability to catch bids and conduct the sale; and if the judge would hire the auctioneer. Judges for each qualifying event are livestock market owners and managers from across the United States.
Other contestants who competed are Jared Anstine, Holden, Mo.; Zach Ballard, Creston, Iowa; Mitch Barthel, Perham, Minn.; Colton Brantley, Modesto, Calif.; Brett Heath, Colome, S.D.; Kirby Hill, Paris, Texas; Cody Kirschbaum, Bloomington, Wisc.; Wade Leist, Boyne City, Mich.; Cody Moore, Winner, S.D.; Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Jay Romine, Mt. Washington, Ky.; and Shane Wolff, Golden Valley, N.D.
The contest will re-air October 24 on http://www.LMAauctions.com beginning at 12 p.m.
About the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship
In June 1963, the Livestock Marketing Association held the first annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver, Colorado. The purpose: to spotlight North America’s top livestock auctioneers and to salute their traditionally important role in the competitive livestock marketing process. That year, 23 auctioneers from the United States and Canada sold the same 20 head of cattle over and over again.
The contest was held at hotels until 1967, when it traveled to its first LMA member market. Since then the WLAC has been held in conjunction with the LMA Marketing Industry Convention at member markets around the U.S. and Canada. Recent locations include California, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Kansas, South Dakota and Alberta, Canada.
Though the rules have changed, the enthusiasm for the competition hasn’t. On average each year, nearly 100 auctioneers enter the qualifying events and only 31 (10 from each qualifying event, one from the auctioneering competition at Calgary Stampede) are selected to compete in the WLAC. The championship consists of three stages: the regional qualifying events held at different markets around the country, followed by the semi-finals and the finals that are held each June in conjunction with the LMA Annual Convention. Contestants competing for the World Champion title must be 18 years old, employed as a livestock auctioneer and sponsored by a local auction market that shares in the favorable publicity generated by the winners.
LMA is proud to sponsor an event that brings together North America’s top livestock auctioneers in a competition that showcases professionalism and promotes the auction method of selling livestock.
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