Winner of first qualifying contest for WLAC will compete for the title in his home state
Veteran contestant Brian Little said he felt “a little relieved” after winning Livestock Marketing Association’s (LMA) first quarterfinal qualifying contest for the 2010 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC).
Little is from Wann, OK, and next June’s WLAC will be held at the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City, OK. With the 47th annual WLAC held in his home state, “I wanted to make sure I qualified, and so it’s a relief to have it over with.”
Winning the first qualifying contest, held in Billings, MT, at the Public Auction Yards on Sept. 25 guaranteed Little a spot in the championship. That’s also true for Billings reserve champion Ted Odle, Brush, CO, runner-up champion Mike Nuss, Minatare, NE, and the next five highest scorers.
Those five, in alphabetical order, are Nick Caspers, Wishek, ND; Chuck Cozzitorto, Hilmar, CA; Duane Rus, Rock Valley, IA; Kyle Shobe, Lewistown, MT; and Preston Smith, Nunn, CO. There were 27 contestants.
Little, 40, was sponsored by Coffeyville Livestock Market, LLC, Coffeyville, KS, and Tulsa Stockyards, Inc., Tulsa, OK.
This marks his 11th time in the contest where his previous highest finish was runner-up world champion in 2006. He’s been an auctioneer for 16 years.
While the stress of qualifying for the championship is over for Little, he said he’ll keep an eye on the results of the other three qualifiers. “I’m a big fan of the contests, and I’ve got a lot of friends who are competing.”
Billings reserve champion Odle’s previous highest finish was reserve world champion in 2007. Winning the world championship “has always been a lifetime goal of mine.”
Odle, who’s been an auctioneer for 30 years, and a contestant 12 times, said the competition in Billings was “as tough as ever.” One of the best parts of the contests for Odle, 46, “is seeing the new, younger contestants. It’s fun to talk to them.”
He was sponsored by the Montana Livestock Auction, Butte, MT.
Billings runner-up champion Mike Nuss, 57, entered his first contest in 1981 and since then, has entered “11 or 12 times.” In 1984, he was named reserve world champion, his highest finish to date.
This is the fourth year LMA has used the four qualifying contests format, and Nuss believes the result is the competition “has gotten stronger. You’re seeing more top-notch” contestants.
That’s because, he believes, spreading the contests around the country makes it easy for talented auctioneers “to get to at least one contest.”
His reasons for wanting to be world champion have changed. “Back in the ’80s, when I was younger,” he wanted to win “to show off the big (winner’s) buckle.” Today, he said, winning means being an ambassador for an industry he’s been a part of for about 30 years.
Nuss was sponsored by Torrington Livestock Markets LLC, Torrington, WY, and Crawford Livestock Market, Inc., Crawford, NE.
A cash award and a custom-made belt buckle goes to the winner in each quarterfinal competition. The reserve and runner-up champions in each contest also receive custom belt buckles.
The remaining quarterfinal qualifying contests are Oct. 9 in Crawford, NE, Oct. 15 in Calhoun, GA, and Dec. 2 in Parsons, KS.
The eight qualifiers from each quarterfinal contest, along with the reigning International Auctioneer Champion, Paul Ramirez, Tucson, AZ, make up the field of 33 for the 2010 WLAC. — WLJ