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Published June 29, 2008, 12:00 AM

Auctioneers compete for title

’68 world champ says winner must show showmanship, flair for sales
Some 4,500 head moved through the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock auction Saturday, but the cattle weren’t the center of the show.

WORTHING, S.D. – Some 4,500 head moved through the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock auction Saturday, but the cattle weren’t the center of the show.

The 33 auctioneers soliciting bids from buyers were participating in the 45th annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, held during an actual cattle sale at the Worthing market.

The market owners and professional livestock dealers judging the contestants were looking for auctioneers’ vocal clarity and quality and their ability to catch bids and keep the sale moving. The judges also look to see if they would hire the auctioneer to work for them.

Robert Schnell, a former Lemmon auctioneer who won the 1968 title in Seffner, Fla., said the job involves a lot of flair and showmanship, but first and foremost an auctioneer is a salesman.

“It behooves you to know something about it,” said Schnell, who now lives in Rapid City. “You should be somewhat of an expert in the cattle business or in the livestock business.

“You should know cattle, you should know values and of course ... you should know people, because you’re selling for people and you’re selling to the buyers.”

The annual Livestock Marketing Association event, which is held in a different location each year, includes an industry trade show and other related events.

Thirty-two of the 33 contestants earned spots during earlier competitions, and the reigning International Auctioneer Champion is traditionally given an automatic slot in the championship.

Judges paired the group down to 10 semifinalists Saturday before crowning Matt Lowery, of Burwell, Neb., the 2008 champion at an evening banquet in Sioux Falls.

With auctioneers hailing from some 20 states and provinces including South Carolina, California, Oklahoma and Alberta, buyers and spectators get to hear a variety of rhythms and dialects, said Brad Klostergaard, co-owner and vice president of Sioux Falls Regional Livestock.

“Everybody’s got a different lingo or a different chant,” Kolstergaard said.

Schnell said auctioneers by necessity have to be fast, but they also have to be understood.

“You’ve got to have the kind of voice that is understood and still you’ve got to be fast,” he said, “because you’re moving these cattle through at an awfully fast pace and you have to have both of those qualities in your lingo.”

Associated Press

WORTHING, S.D. – Some 4,500 head moved through the Sioux Falls Regional Livestock auction Saturday, but the cattle weren’t the center of the show.

The 33 auctioneers soliciting bids from buyers were participating in the 45th annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, held during an actual cattle sale at the Worthing market.

The market owners and professional livestock dealers judging the contestants were looking for auctioneers’ vocal clarity and quality and their ability to catch bids and keep the sale moving. The judges also look to see if they would hire the auctioneer to work for them.

Robert Schnell, a former Lemmon auctioneer who won the 1968 title in Seffner, Fla., said the job involves a lot of flair and showmanship, but first and foremost an auctioneer is a salesman.

“It behooves you to know something about it,” said Schnell, who now lives in Rapid City. “You should be somewhat of an expert in the cattle business or in the livestock business.

“You should know cattle, you should know values and of course and you should know people, because you’re selling for people and you’re selling to the buyers.”

The annual Livestock Marketing Association event, which is held in a different location each year, includes an industry trade show and other related events.

Thirty-two of the 33 contestants earned spots during earlier competitions, and the reigning International Auctioneer Champion is traditionally given an automatic slot in the championship.

Judges paired the group down to 10 semifinalists and crowned the 2008 champion Saturday night at a banquet in Sioux Falls.

With auctioneers hailing from some 20 states and provinces including South Carolina, California, Oklahoma and Alberta, buyers and spectators get to hear a variety of rhythms and dialects, said Brad Klostergaard, co-owner and vice president of Sioux Falls Regional Livestock.

“Everybody’s got a different lingo or a different chant,” Kolstergaard said.

Schnell said auctioneers by necessity have to be fast, but they also have to be understood.

“You’ve got to have the kind of voice that is understood and still you’ve got to be fast,” he said, “Because you’re moving these cattle through at an awfully fast pace and you have to have both of those qualities in your lingo.”

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