50 years of World Livestock Auctioneer championships

News
May 24, 2013
by WLJ

—RFD-TV to broadcast live the finals of WLAC for first time on June 15.

For half a century, the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) has showcased the industry’s most talented livestock auctioneers and honored local livestock auction markets annually through its World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC). On June 14-15 in Montgomery, AL, LMA will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this prestigious event when 31 semi-finalists gather at the Montgomery Stockyards to compete for the 2013 title.

This year’s WLAC qualifying and semi-final events highlight the professional auctioneering skills and livestock marketing knowledge of hundreds of auctioneers who competed. The WLAC contest is produced by LMA, the leading trade association serving livestock auction markets, during its annual convention as a way to promote the profession and the auction method of marketing livestock.

During this year’s annual convention, which will be held at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel just prior to the WLAC contest, the livestock marketing industry will learn the latest updates on animal handling, animal disease traceability and other government and industry issues. In addition, a number of educational workshops will be held to help auction market owners and employees deal with animal rights groups, adapt new technologies and improve their business communications, all to add greater value to the farmers and ranchers they serve.

Last June, Bailey Ballou of Elgin, OK, was selected the 2012 champion at the WLAC held in Turlock, CA. During the past year, Ballou has toured North America’s livestock auctions serving as a spokesperson for the industry. Because of this important, high-profile role, each WLAC semi-finalist must establish their knowledge of the livestock marketing business, and demonstrate their ability to express that knowledge with clarity, in an interview competition held on Friday, June 14 at the hotel. The interview competition can be viewed live on www. LMAAuctions.com starting at 2 p.m. Central.

The Saturday, June 15 auctioneering competition of WLAC is a live sale where the 31 contestants auction cattle to actual bidders in the seats. Contestants are judged on the clarity of their auction chant; vocal quality; their ability to catch bids and conduct the sale; and finally, if the judge would hire this auctioneer for their own livestock market. Judges are livestock market owners and managers, and many have competed in this competition in the past.

This year’s finals will be hosted at Montgomery Stockyards LLC and the titles of World Livestock Auctioneer Champion, reserve champion (2nd place), and runner-up (3rd place) will be presented at the awards ceremony on Saturday night. The champion will take home $5,000 in cash, a custom diamond ring, trophy and other prizes, as well as the use of a brand new pickup for the year. The reserve and runner-up champions will take home $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

For the first time, RFD-TV will broadcast the semi-final and final rounds of the contest live starting at 8 a.m.

Central, Saturday, June 15 from Montgomery Stockyards, 4500 Mobile Highway outside of Montgomery. The event is open to the public free of charge. Check your RFD-TV guide for program times in your area. The winners will be announced that evening at the WLAC awards ceremony, which can be watched live at www. LMAAuctions.com.

Follow LMA on Facebook (Facebook.com/auctionLMA) and Twitter (@sellatauction) for additional event information. The official hashtag of the 2013 WLAC is #WLAC50.

About the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship:

In June 1963, LMA held the first annual WLAC at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver, CO. The purpose: to spotlight North America’s top livestock auctioneers and to salute their traditionally important role in the competitive livestock marketing process. That year, 23 auctioneers from the U.S. and Canada sold the same 20 head of cattle over and over again.

The contest was held at hotels until 1967 when it traveled to its first LMA member market. Since then, WLAC has been held in conjunction with the LMA Marketing Industry Convention at member markets around the U.S. and Canada. Recent locations include California, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Kansas, South Dakota and Alberta, Canada.

Though the rules have changed, the enthusiasm for the competition hasn’t. On average each year, nearly 100 auctioneers enter the qualifying events. The championship consists of three stages: the regional qualifying events held at different markets around the country followed by the semi-finals and the finals that are held each June in conjunction with the LMA Annual Meeting. Contestants competing for the World Champion title must be 18 years old, employed as a livestock auctioneer, and sponsored by a local auction market that shares in the favorable publicity generated by the winners.

LMA is proud to sponsor an event that brings together North America’s top livestock auctioneers in a competition that showcases professionalism and promotes the auction method of selling livestock. — WLJ

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