Shobe wins LMAs World Livestock Auctioneer Championship

Jul 2, 2010
by WLJ

Kyle Shobe said he was “definitely very surprised” being named the winner of the Livestock Marketing Association’s (LMA) 2010 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC)—probably because he had picked three other contestants to win the three world titles.

Shobe, of Lewistown, MT, 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 longtime LMA employee who worked on the WLAC for many years. This year’s winner was Russele Sleep, Bedford, IA.

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, Billings, MT, 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, Ninety Six, SC, sponsored by Wilkes County Stockyard, Inc., Washington, GA; Upstate Livestock Exchange, LLC, Williamston, SC; and Shelby Livestock Auction Yard, Inc., Shelby, NC.

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, Yates Center, KS. His sponsors were Fort Scott Livestock Market, Inc., Fort Scott, KS; SEK Stockyards, Gas, KS; 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, Elgin, OK; Tom Frey, Creston, IA; Brian Little, Wann, OK; Mike Nuss, Minatare, NE; Ted Odle, Butte, MT; Jason Santomaso, Sterling, CO; and Kevin Schow, Paxton, NE.

From LMA, Shobe received a $5,000 check, the champion’s sculpture, a hand-tooled leather briefcase, a custom belt buckle by Gist Silversmiths and, for his championship year, the use of a 2010 Chevrolet Quad Cab Silverado truck.

He was also presented the custom-designed world champion’s ring from the host market, the Golden Gavel Award from the World Wide College of Auctioneering, a James Reid, Ltd. money clip from, and a John David Rule National Saddlery custom-tooled saddle from the Oklahoma City Livestock Exchange.

LMA awards the reserve champion and runner-up champion $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, along with a Gist knife and Gist belt buckle.

The semi-finalists receive overnight bags from LMA, and from the host market, belt buckles.

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 topscoring 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, AL; Oct. 23 at Vold, Jones & Vold Auction Co., Ltd., Ponoka, ALB; Oct. 28, at Burlington Livestock Exchange, Burlington, CO; and March 4, Bloomington Livestock Exchange, Bloomington, WI.

The 2011 WLAC will be June 25 at Upstate Livestock Exchange, LLC, Williamston, SC, 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. — WLJ