Kansas cattle auctioneers take top two spots in annual world contest in Knoxville, IA
Blaine Lotz of Edna, Kan. proved his world-class talent as a livestock auctioneer at the 51st anniversary of the Livestock Marketing Association’s (LMA) World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday, June 21.
Lotz’s parents met while his mother was selling cattle, and his father was buying them. As a third-generation auctioneer, the world champion was quite familiar with the livestock marketing industry. When he was 15, Lotz attended auctioneering school at Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Montana and later received his first full-time job as a livestock auctioneer at the age of 17.
Ultimately, Lotz’s favorite part of being an livestock auctioneer is working for consignors to maximize the value of their livestock, their livelihood.
Just a month shy of turning 21, Lotz notes that winning the WLAC is a huge accomplishment and something he has worked for for a lifetime. During his acceptance speech, Lotz said that he couldn’t wait to hit the road representing the LMA and livestock marketing industry.
Lotz was sponsored by South Coffeyville Stockyards, Inc., South Coffeyville, Okla.; Fredonia Livestock Auction, Fredonia, Kan.; and Tulsa Stockyards, Inc., Tulsa, Okla.
This year’s champion takes home a customized 2014 Ford F-150 pickup to use during the year of his reign; $5,000 cash; a championship sculpture; world champion Gist belt buckle and a hand-tooled leather briefcase from LMA; world champion ring sponsored by Knoxville Regional Livestock Market; the Golden Gavel Award sponsored by the World Wide College of Auctioneering; and a James Reid, Ltd. money clip sponsored by CattleUSA.com.
Also, making a great showing were the Reserve Champion, Preston Smith, Dodge City, Kan., and Runner-up Champion, Brennin Jack, Prince Albert, Sask. Smith was sponsored by Winter Livestock, Inc., Dodge City, Kan., and Pratt Livestock, Pratt, Kan. As reserve champion, Smith received $2,000 cash, a Gist knife and reserve champion Gist belt buckle from LMA.
Jack was sponsored by Heartland Livestock Services, Nilsson Brothers Inc. and Direct Livestock Marketing Systems. He will take home $1,000 cash, a Gist knife and runner-up Gist belt buckle, sponsored by LMA.
The 2014 Audrey K. Banks “Rookie of the Year” Award winner was Justin Gattey, Consort, Alberta, who was sponsored by Vold, Jones & Auction Co., Ltd., Ponoka, Alberta; Blair Vold, Ralph Vold, and Nansen Vold; and Viking Auction Market. Gattey was awarded $500 cash by LMA, in recognition of an impressive display of talent at his first WLAC competition.
David Whitaker, Ames, Iowa was awarded $1,000 cash and a hand-tooled leather padfolio from the LMA.
The seven remaining 2014 WLAC finalists: Mitch Barthel, Perham, Minnesota; Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa; Garrett Jones, Los Banos, Calif.; Brandon Neely, Southside, Ala.; Paul Ramirez, Tucson, Arizona; Russele Sleep, Beford, Iowa; and Jason Santomaso, Sterling, Colo.; all received Gist belt buckles from LMA.
Each of the 31 semi-finalists received a barbeque set from the LMA and vests, coolers, and knives from the host market.
Thirty of the semi-finalists were selected during three quarterfinals that took place during the year at LMA member-markets in the U.S. As the International Auctioneer Champion is always given a “bye” to become an automatic semi-finalist, Justin Gattey qualified as the champion from the Calgary Stampede in Canada.
When not on the auction block at the livestock markets he regularly sells at, Lotz will spend his year traveling the country sharing his auctioneering skills with other livestock auction markets, and acting as a spokesperson for the industry. Therefore, each semi-finalist had an opportunity to establish their knowledge of the livestock marketing business, and their ability to express that knowledge with clarity, in a judged interview session on Friday of the championship.
The auctioneering phase of the contest is conducted during an actual sale, with live bidders in the seats. Contestants were judged on the clarity of their auction chant; vocal quality; their ability to catch bids and conduct the sale; and finally, would the judge hire this auctioneer for their own livestock market?
Following the semi-finals, ten finalists were selected to return to the auction ring for the final round where they sold more lots of cattle, and were judged again, based on the same criteria.
A special one-hour highlight show will be aired on RFD-TV June 30 at 8:00 p.m. EST.
The WLAC highlights the auctioneer’s crucial role in the competitive marketing of livestock. LMA hosts the contest each year to promote the auction method of selling livestock; which results in true price discovery of the value of all classes of livestock and sets the cash market for all other methods of selling.
This year’s 51st anniversary contest was hosted by Knoxville Regional Livestock Market in Knoxville, Iowa. Attendees had the opportunity to witness a great livestock sale that sold over 4,000 head of cattle.