So September is off to a busy start. As I write this I preparing to travel to Montgomery, Alabama for our first quarterfinal event on Monday, September 13th. I am so excited to make my first trip to the South and find out what all the talk is about! Do not foget that you can catch all of the action LIVE on LMAAuctions. Before I get too excited about Alabamb I must update you about my latest trip to Wyoming.
Last Sunday after the Dillon Jaycees PRCA Rodeo my dad and I hit to road and started towards Torrington, Wyoming. After spending the night in Buffalo we arrived to a full house of buyers and spectators at Torrington Livestock Commission Company around 11. Five of us, Lex and Shawn Madden, along with Michael Schmitt and Mike Nuss, shared the auction duties throughout the day and got to work selling all 7,650 head of cattle. I must say that Schmitty lived up to his reputation of being an entertainer. Needless to say, we had a good time up on the block.
Jodie and I have become good friends with Mike Nuss and his wife Jan over the last couple years. It was great to see him and work the sale alongside him. That is a friendship that developed because of the auctioneer contests. We talk a lot about the educational aspect of them and of course the awards, but the friendships forged are perhaps the most important, most beneficial and longest lasting.
Speaking of auctioneering contests, auctioneers it is time to send your entry in for the second of the 2011 WLAC quarterfinals in Ponoka, Alberta Quarterfinal, scheduled for October 23rd. It may be a little far North, there, but I can promise that it will be well worth the trip! I have never competed in Canada, but everyone tells me that the Canadians roll out the red carpet for auctioneers from the States. Dan Skeels runs a top-notch operation and I can guarantee you it will be first class! If you are concerned about getting your passports, just get the application, fill it out and send it in! It only took 3 weeks for mine to come…there is still time! If you absolutely cannot make it to Ponoka, the third quarterfinal is in Burlington, Colorado the following week on October 28th.
Now that I have convinced you to go to Canada–I will get back to my Torrington trip. To add to the excitement of my adventure, I had the opportunity to visit with Leslie Smith from KNEB radio in Scottsbluff, you can follow the link to find out more. Of course I was able to catch up with several producers, buyers and even a couple ole’ buddies from the Torrington area! Afterwards, we headed downtown to grab a bite to eat and ended up picking the most popular place in town. Granted, it was the only one open Labor Day at 8 pm! So, we joined some of the buyers and other sale goers – which included the infamous Charlie Leonard—and wrapped up our Labor Day weekend with good company!
On the rodeo side of things, the Dillon Jaycees have a history of putting on a whale of a show for the ”Montana’s Biggest Weekend” celebration. Saturday night’s performance was one of the better shows I’ve seen in my 4 year stint as announcer there. The weather was beautiful and the rodeo moved along rapidly and without a hitch…except for the sound system blowing the breaker 3 times during the opening. After a rocky…or rather, silent start…the action unfolded quite well. I’ve worked several events for stock contractor Wade Sankey (son of Ike) over the past several years, and you want to talk about a family that knows rodeo and knows production!! It’s a first class outfit with strong pens of bucking horses. Blake Goode wsa there with his Roman Riding Brahma Bull act, which by the way has been nominated for Specialty Act of the Year in the PRCA along with performing 3 times at the Wrangler National Finals. Syd McFarland entertained as rodeo clown. He’s a retired career firefighter from Montgomery, Alabama who, following his retirement, spent a year as a combat firefighter in Iraq. The highlight of the weekend was my good buddy and former classmate (Kindergarten-High School) Justin Bailey, won the bull riding in Dillon Saturday night, and also White Sulpher Springs the next day! We don’t see each other too often anymore, but he and I spent hours and hours playing “sale barn” during recess in grade school.
As I was leaving the motel Sunday morning to go to the rodeo grounds, I ran into a gentleman from England by the name of Eric Hepworth, who was in Dillon just for the rodeo. Turns out, he raises Simmental cattle and was actually in attendance at the Miles City, MT Quarterfinal 2 years ago (which was my first shot at the WLAC). Evidently he spends a fair amount of time here in the States touring around and seeing some of the operations here. He’s even been to Lewistown! (the Butcher family of Gateway Simmentals were some of the first to breed those cattle in the US, back in the late 60′s…they continue to run a good operation, holding an annual production sale every February). Mr. Hepworth’s outfit is called Woodend Pedigree Simmentals.
The rodeo on Sunday afternoon was over by 3, and we finally hit the road at 5. Another long weekend in the truck: 22.5 hours and 1,494.5 miles. A great time hanging out with my dad and seeing the countryside doing what I love!