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Sold! Livestock auctioneers to compete at national championship in Lloydminster

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Professional auctioneers from B.C. to Nova Scotia will be heading to Lloydminster next week aiming to prove themselves among the best in Canada.

Around 250 attendees will be coming from across Canada for the 37th annual meeting and convention of the Livestock Markets Association of Canada. On Friday, 4,000 head of cattle will be sold during the competition held in conjunction.

Thirty-eight competitors will be slinging sales in their own bid to be crowned the 2022 Canadian livestock auctioneer champion on May 6. It’s the first time the competition will be held since 2019 and the first time the event will be held in Lloydminster.

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Auctioneering isn’t just fast-talking — it requires skills developed by professionals through dedicated schools and years of plying the trade.

“It’s a lot of dedication,” said Brent Brooks of Northern Livestock Sales, which is hosting this year. “It is definitely a lot of practice and many, many hours just selling livestock.”

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Brooks said competitors will be judged by a panel of five. Criteria will include clarity, bid calling techniques, professionalism and a general knowledge of the industry.

The competition will be open to the public, Brooks said.

“Anybody wanting to come and view the sale, visit with some of the participants, they’ll be more than welcome and they’ll be more than comfortable.

Super Bowl for auctioneers

Ryan Konynenbelt is the 2019 champion and winner of the 2018 international Calgary Stampede competition. The auctioneer with Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange in Fort MacLeod said livestock auctioneering is unique among other commodities.

“There’s a lot of emotion involved when it comes to cattle — you’re basically marketing these producers’ livelihoods.”

Cattle can go for between $800 and $1,600 a head, depending on a variety of factors. Auctioneers need to consider things like the market, the weight of the cattle and what kind of buyers might be interested in what kind of class of livestock.

“It’s not just spitting out numbers,” Konyenbelt said.

They’re aiming for what’s called “true price discovery” — the actual true price in competitive bidding.

“You’re trying to get the most value out of their cattle that you can and this is just another day in the office,” Konyenbelt advises. 

“Treat it like that. Do your best.”

Frederick Bodnarus is an auctioneer with Northern Livestock Sales and has been in the business for 25 years. He’s among the 38 competitors aiming to come home with a winners buckle.

“The Canadian livestock auction championship is a big deal,” he said. 

“If you’re lucky enough to be crowned the Canadian livestock auctioneer championship, that’s like a Super Bowl for us Canadian auctioneers.”


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