Winner of WLAC qualifying contest started early

Oct 30, 2009
by WLJ
Winner of WLAC qualifying contest started early

At the age of “9 or 10,” Tye Casey, Plymouth, IN, started auctioneering, selling baby calves at his grandfather’s market in Michigan.

Some 20 years later, Casey’s guaranteed a spot in Livestock Marketing Association’s (LMA) 2010 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) after winning the third quarterfinal qualifying contest for the June WLAC.

The qualifying event was hosted Oct. 15 by the Calhoun Stockyard Hwy. 53, Inc. in Calhoun, GA. The reserve champion, from a field of 29 contestants, was Darren T. Carter, Ninety Six, SC, and the runner-up champion was Jeff Bynum, Southside, AL.

The three winners will move on to the Oklahoma City WLAC, as will the next five highest scorers here.

Those five are, in alphabetical order, Joel Martin, Williamston, SC, Brandon Neely, Southside, AL, Jay Romine, Mt. Washington, KY, Gabe Spikes, Bowie, TX, and Billy Younkin, Cecil, AL.

“Shocked and honored” is how Casey said he felt when his name was called as the winner, “especially because of the competition. It was the toughest I’ve ever seen.

“I was delighted be in the top eight (scorers), but being named champion blew me away.” This was Casey’s third time in the contest, and his highest finish to date.

He was sponsored by Topeka Livestock Auction, Inc., Topeka, IN, and Shipshewana Auction, Inc., Shipshewana, IN.

Asked if he studies other auctioneers, Casey said, “Any auctioneer interests me … you have your own chant, but you’re never too old or too young to learn. You can always incorporate something new.”

Reserve Champion Carter said, after taking his turn in the auction block at the contest, “I felt I could have been a little more at ease.”

So when the judges named him one of the top eight scorers, “that was wonderful, and it was an added bonus to be picked reserve champion.”

Carter, 32, has been a fulltime livestock auctioneer for about five years. This was his highest finish in three qualifying contests, although his score in a qualifier last year put him in the Fergus Falls, MN, WLAC.

Asked what winning the world title next June would mean to him, he said “the first thing that comes to mind is I would be representing our part of the country, (and) the great auctioneers we have in the Southeast.”

Carter was sponsored by Wilkes County Stockyard, Inc., Washington, GA, Martin and Martin Cattle Co., Inc., Williamston, SC, and Shelby Livestock Yard, Inc., Shelby, NC.

The contestants draw for the order of their appearance in the contest, and Runnerup Champion Bynum drew number 29 out of 29. At first, he said, “I was uncomfortable about it,” with the tension rising “tremendously” as he waited.

By the time the 18th con testant came up to sell, “I went outside, walked around and stretched, and got real relaxed … (and) it turned out real well.”

Bynum, 44, has been an auctioneer since high school. He counts as mentors, teachers and friends three former world champions: 1974’s Ralph Wade, 1977’s Bobby Russell, and 1988’s Joe Don Pogue, adding, “I have the utmost respect for these gentlemen.”

Bynum’s sponsor was Fort Payne Stockyard, Inc., Fort Payne, AL.

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 last qualifying contest is Dec. 2 in Parsons, KS. Brian Little, Wann, OK, won the first qualifier Sept. 25 in Billings, MT, and Russele Sleep, Bedford, IA, won the second, Oct. 9 in Crawford, NE.

The eight qualifiers from each quarterfinal competition, along with the reigning International Auctioneer Champion—Paul Ramirez, Tucson, AZ—make up the field of 33 semi-finalists for the WLAC.

Three titlists will be selected at the WLAC, and the winners take home thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.

LMA conducts the WLAC and the qualifying contests to put the focus on competitive livestock marketing and the auctioneer’s continuing vital role in that process. — WLJ