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Published October 31, 2011, 12:00 AM

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Quarterfinals livestock auctioneer champion Mitch Barthel of New York Mills, Minn., demonstrates a commanding auction style in competition Oct. 20 at the Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange in Dickinson, N.D. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)

  • Quarterfinals livestock auctioneer champion Mitch Barthel of New York Mills, Minn., demonstrates a commanding auction style in competition Oct. 20 at the Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange in Dickinson, N.D. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Fourteen participants stand for the National Anthem in the regional quarterfinals for the World Livestock Auctioneer championship at the Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange in Dickinson, N.D. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Ranchers are selling cattle at career record highs, at the time of the auctioneering competition, but some cautioned that costs are also rising. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Dean Meyer, a rancher and column-writer from Dickinson, and grandsons R.J. (with the hat) and Evan (right), take in the Livestock Marketing Association World Livestock Auctioneer championship quarterfinals, Oct. 20 at Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange in Dickinson. The boys are sons of Will and Jen Meyer. They hold lots of auctions at home, with the toys. “We have lots of cow sales,” Dean says, and adds, with a straight face, “and one day we sold a fire-breathing dragon for $2 million.” (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Auctioneer Shane Wolff of Golden Valley, N.D., takes his turn in the auction block center as 2011 World Champion Charly Cummings of Yates Center, Kan., (left) looks on. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)