TURLOCK, Calif. (June 6, 2012) — Will Epperly enters the auction block in Lancaster, Ky., each week, calling for bids on local producers’ livestock. A good auctioneer knows how to draw the highest dollar possible for each head of livestock that moves through the sale.
For the past year, auctioneers from across the country have competed for a spot in the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC), to be conducted June 15-16 in Turlock, Calif. The annual contest, now in its 49th year, showcases the professional auctioneering skills and livestock marketing knowledge of hundreds of auctioneers that compete in the qualifying and championship events.
The event is produced by Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), the leading trade association serving livestock auction markets. LMA believes that the open, competitive bidding method of livestock marketing affords true price discovery on every class and type of animal, and that livestock auction markets provide tremendous economic benefits to producers and rural communities.
Since last year’s WLAC Champion, Charly Cummings of Yates Center, Kansas, was crowned, there have been four quarter-finals conducted across the United States. At each of these events, dozens of auctioneers competed to be one of 33 semi-finalists contending for the title at the WLAC finals.
When not on the auction block at his home market, the WLAC Champion will spend his year traveling the country sharing his auctioneering skills with other livestock markets, and acting as a spokesperson for the industry. Therefore, each semi-finalist must establish their knowledge of the livestock marketing business, and their ability to express that knowledge with clarity, in an interview session conducted on Friday of the contest.
The auctioneering phase of the contest is a live sale, where the contestants will sell cattle to actual bidders in the seats. Contestants are judged on the clarity of their auction chant; vocal quality; their ability to catch bids, conduct the sale; and finally, would the judge hire this auctioneer for their own livestock market? Judges are livestock market owners and managers, and many have competed in this competition in the past.
This year’s finals will be hosted by the Turlock Livestock Auction Yard, in Turlock, Calif. The titles of World Livestock Auctioneer Champion, reserve champion, and runner-up will be presented on Saturday night. The Champion will take home $5,000, a custom diamond ring, trophy and other prizes, as well as the use of a brand new pickup for the year. The reserve and runner-up champions will take home $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.
Watch the contestants compete live at www.LMAAuctions.com.