World champion auctioneer |

World champion auctioneer

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Kyle Shobe said he was “definitely very surprised” being named the winner here of LMA’s 2010 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship – probably because he had picked three other contestants to win the three world titles.

Shobe, of Lewistown, Mont., explained that because he competed early in both the semi-final and the final rounds – 5th in the former, first in the latter – he had plenty of time to watch the 32 other contestants.

“I had three other guys picked to win,” he said, and was surprised when the judges didn’t agree, following competition June 19 at the Oklahoma National Stockyards.

His crystal ball may be cloudy, but his auctioneering skill is clearly evident: his victory comes in just his second year of competition.

Last year – his first time in the contest – he won the runner-up world title, and was also named the Audrey K. Banks “Rookie of the Year.” The “Rookie” award, and a $500 prize from LMA, goes to the highest-scoring first-time entrant in that year’s semi-finals.

It is named after a long-time LMA employee who worked on the WLAC for many years. This year’s winner was Russele Sleep of Bedford, Iowa.

Shobe, 27, was sponsored by the Lewistown Livestock Auction. He said he has “a lot to learn about the livestock industry, but I’m willing to learn…(and) it’s exciting and humbling to be picked as a spokesman.”

Shobe succeeds 2009 World Champion Ty Thompson of Billings, Mont., who said of his fellow Montanan, “He studies the business, he’s an outstanding public speaker, and he’s a real spokesman” for the industry.

During his year as champion, Shobe will travel across the country, appearing at LMA member markets and other events.

This year’s reserve world champion is Darren T. Carter of Ninety Six, S.C., sponsored by Wilkes County Stockyard, Inc., Washington, Ga.; Upstate Livestock Exchange, LLC, Williamston, S.C.; and Shelby Livestock Auction Yard, Inc., Shelby, N.C.

Carter, 33, has been an auctioneer for 10 years, and selling cattle for about seven years. Hearing his name called as reserve champion “was unexpected, for sure.”

The 2010 runner-up world champion is Charly Cummings of Yates Center, Kan. His sponsors were Fort Scott Livestock Market, Inc., Fort Scott, Kan.; SEK Stockyards, Gas, Kan.; and Mo-Kan Livestock Market, Inc., Butler, Mo.

Cummings took the runner-up title on his third time in the contest. “It’s great to be ranked so high among such top-notch competition,” he said. He was also a “Rookie of the Year,” in the 2008 contest.

The remaining seven finalists, in alphabetical order, were: Bailey Ballou of Elgin, Okla.; Tom Frey of Creston, Iowa; Brian Little of Wann, Okla.; Mike Nuss of Minatare, Neb.; Ted Odle of Butte, Mont.; Jason Santomaso of Sterling, Colo.; and Kevin Schow of Paxton, Neb.

The Championship is an actual sale. Six judges score the semi-finalists on vocal clarity and quality, bid-catching ability, execution of the sale, and by answering the question, “Would I hire this auctioneer?”

Twenty-five percent of the semi-finalists’ and finalists’ scores are determined by a pre-contest interview. Judging criteria include presentation, clarity of expression/articulation, knowledge of and the ability to be a spokesman for the livestock industry, and answering the question, “Would I hire this auctioneer?”

The 33 semi-finalists are narrowed to 10 finalists, who then sell more cattle, and are judged on the above sale criteria.

LMA will again use four quarterfinal competitions to qualify contestants for the 2011 WLAC. The eight top-scoring contestants at each competition will move on to next June’s WLAC. The 33rd contestant is the International Auctioneer Champion, who is traditionally given a “bye” into the semi-finals.

The quarterfinals will be Sept. 13 at Montgomery Stockyards, LLC, Montgomery, Ala.; Oct. 23 at Vold, Jones & Vold Auction Co., Ltd., Ponoka, Alberta; Oct. 28, at Burlington Livestock Exchange, Burlington, Colo.; and March 4, Bloomington Livestock Exchange, Bloomington, Wisc.

The 2011 WLAC will be June 25 at Upstate Livestock Exchange, LLC, Williamston, S.C., hosted by Upstate and Martin & Martin Cattle, Inc., Williamston.

LMA conducts the WLAC – next year will be the 48th annual – to spotlight competitive marketing, and the auctioneer’s continuing vital role in that process.

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