Illinois auctioneer wins 2017 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship |

Illinois auctioneer wins 2017 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship

In June 1963, the Livestock Marketing Association held the first annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver. This year, Brian Curless of Pittsfield, Ill., took home the championship title from the event, held in Billings, Mont., at PAYS Livestock.
Photo courtesy Livestock Marketing AssociationPhoto courtesy Livestock Marketing Association |

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brian Curless of Pittsfield, Ill., proved his world-class talent as a livestock auctioneer at the 54th annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, presented by the Livestock Marketing Association. Public Auction Yards, Billings, Mont., hosted the contest on June 17.

Curless was raised in the livestock marketing industry, but did not originally have any interest in becoming an auctioneer. During his mid-20s, Curless recognized the need for livestock auctioneers as the population of current auctioneers was aging. He attended auction school and from there, had “put WLAC Champions on a pedestal.”

The newly crowned Champion noted Jack Lowderman and Bob Evans as personal mentors, while recognizing other auctioneers like Stanley Stout and the 1987 WLAC Champion, Jeff Stokes, as “heroes” in the livestock auctioneering world.

In 2012, Curless competed in a WLAC Qualifying Event for the first time. Six years of competing later, he won the title and is now looking forward to a year of representing the LMA and livestock marketing industry. Curless reminds other auctioneers that perseverance is key in pursuing the WLAC Championship and to not get discouraged.

Curless was sponsored by Fairview Sale Barn, Fairview, Ill.; F&T Livestock, Palmyra, Mo.; and Kirksville Livestock, LLC.


Cody Lowderman from Macomb, Ill., earned Reserve Champion honors, and Will Epperly from Dunlap, Iowa, was named Runner-up Champion.The Reserve Champion and Rookie of the Year also won the award for high Interview score. Lowderman was sponsored by Carthage Livestock, Inc. Epperly was sponsored by Dunlap Livestock Auction, Dunlap, Iowa; West Point Livestock Auction, Inc., West Point, Neb., and S&B Cattle Company, Lexington, Ky.

In addition to Curless, Lowderman and Epperly, the 2017 WLAC finalists were Colton Brantley, Clovis, Calif.; Mike Godberson, Pawnee, Okla.; Brennin Jack, Prince Albert, Sask.; Jacob Massey, Petersburg, Tenn.; Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif.; Jared Miller, Leon, Iowa; and Russele Sleep, Bedford, Iowa.

Remaining semi-finalists were Mitch Barthel, Perham, Minn.; Neil Bouray, Webber, Kan.; Ab Carroll, Downeyville, Ontario; Leon Casselman, Long Lane, Mo.; Lance Cochran, Medford, Okla.; Eric Drees, Nampa, Idaho; Phillip Gilstrap, Pendleton, S.C.; Brandon Hamel, Damar, Kan.; Garrett Jones, Los Banos, Calif.; Dan Koupal, Dante, S.D.; Corey Lawrence, Thorsby, Alberta.; Wade Leist, Boyne City, Mich.; Blake McDaniel, Tallassee, Ala.; Brandon McLagan, Unionville, Mo.; Daniel Mitchell, Cumberland, Ohio; Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Jay Romine, Mt. Washington, Ky.; Curtis Wetovick, Fullerton, Neb.; Tim Yoder, Montezuma, Ga.; Billy Younkin, Cecil, Ala.; and Zack Zumstein, Prairie, Idaho.

Thirty of the semi-finalists were selected during three regional qualifying events that took place at LMA member-markets in the U.S. As the International Auctioneer Champion is always given a “bye” to become an automatic semi-finalist, Corey Lawrence qualified as the champion from Calgary Stampede’s International Livestock Auctioneer Championship in Canada.=

The 2017 LMA Annual Convention and WLAC was sponsored in part by the Meadowbrook Star Insurance Group, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, and the official animal health sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim. More information can be found at