It’s been a busy few weeks of qualifiers for the upcoming 2013 WLAC! Competition has been tough, but 31 auctioneers have now earned their place in the semi-final round at the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship in Montgomery, Ala., next June.
Montgomery Stockyards will host the 50th anniversary championship, and preparations have long been underway for this year’s events. These semi-finalists are going to take part in a memorable celebration of the WLAC, regardless of who is crowned 2013 World Livestock Auctioneer Champion!
As we’ve traveled the country to put on this year’s qualifying events, we’ve been hosted by three exceptional market owners and their staff.
The first qualifier was held Sept. 15th at Mid-America Stockyards in Bristow, Oklahoma. Four generations of the Varner family welcomed everyone that came through the door with their warm Oklahoma-style hospitality. Don’t miss a chance to stop by on sale day and eat at the family-run café! Not to mention they run an exceptional market.
Blaine Lotz of Edna, Kansas, took home top honors in Bristow. Ashley Noland of Amarillo, Texas was the Reserve Champion of the day, followed by Runner-up Champion Tracy Sullivan from Prague, Oklahoma.
The next stop in our qualifying tour was on Sept. 24th at Southeast Mississippi Livestock in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, home to one of the largest sale rings we’ve ever seen! Joe Johnson and his crew brought us an excellent sale and amazing traditional southern cuisine. The hard-working crew was exceptionally helpful and we had a great time in Hattiesburg.
Brian Little from Wann, Oklahoma, was named Champion for this event. Placing second was Brandon Neely of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Third place went to Brian Curless of Pittsfield, Illinois.
On Monday, Oct. 29th, our final round of qualifying competition was held at Stockland Livestock Auction in Davenport, Washington. Beautiful country and gracious people made this a great trip. The McGuinness family, Jack, Kale & Katie, were wonderful hosts and we enjoyed being a part of their sale day.
Dustin Focht, Stillwater, Oklahoma won the Davenport qualifier. Reserve Champion for the day was Jeff Bynum, Southside, Alabama. Runner-up Champion for the event was Paul Ramirez, Tucson, Arizona.
At each qualifying event, the Champion of the qualifier takes home a custom-designed Gist belt buckle and a $500 cash award, sponsored by Livestock Marketing Association. The host market at each event awards an additional $500. The Reserve and Runner-up Champions at each event also receive custom Gist belt buckles from LMA.
The additional Top Ten contestants from each qualifier, now moving on to the semi-final round in Montgomery, are:
Darren Carter, Ninety Six, S.C.; Tye Casey, Plymouth, Ind.; Jake Cheechov, Creswell, Ore.; Chuck Cozzitorto, Hilmar, Calif.; Will Epperly, Lancaster, Ky.; Philip Gilstrap, Pendleton, S.C.; Mike Godberson, Pawnee, Okla.; Jim Hertzog, Butler, Mo.; Garrett Jones, Los Banos, Calif.; Mark Lipscomb, Como, Miss.; Andrew McDowell, Vandalia, Ill.; Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif.; Daniel Mitchell, Cumberland, Ohio; Jay Romine, Mt. Washington, Ky.; Duane Rus, Rock Valley, Iowa; Jason Santomaso, Sterling, Colo.; Daren Shumway, Mesa, Ariz.; Russle Sleep, Bedford, Iowa; Preston Smith, Dodge City, Kan., Robb Taylor, Perkins, Okla.; and Billy Younkin, Cecil, Ala.
Also qualified for the 2013 WLAC is International Livestock Auctioneer Champion Brennin Jack from Weyburn, Sasketchewan, who won this year’s competition in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Can’t wait to see the competition in Montgomery! I hope many of you will make plans to join us on June 14-15, but if you can’t travel, be sure to mark your calendars and log onto www.LMAAuctions.com to watch the competition LIVE.
Lots more information about the WLAC, schedules, etc. can be found at www.LMAWeb.com. Check it out!