Some of the fastest talkers from around the world gathered in southern Alberta on Friday to compete in the International Livestock Auctioneer Championship.
The preliminary round of the competition held in Stavely, Alta., had 27 competitors from four countries — Canada, U.S., South Africa and Australia. The top 10 participants will move on to the finals at the Calgary Stampede on Saturday.
“We’ve got some seasoned veterans, we’ve got some rookies,” said Dan Skeels, International Livestock Auctioneer Championship committee member.
“So there’s going to be a broad range as far as styles and types, how they conduct the sale.”
Justin Perlich is one of the Lethbridge auctioneers participating in the competition. This is his third time competing and for him, winning would be a dream come true.
“One day for sure, I’d like to win it,” he said. “ let’s just get to the Top 10 first.”
Perlich said he prepared for the competition by doing tongue twisters and practising saying his numbers in front of the mirror.
“If you can go up and down from $5 bids to $100 and all the way down without stopping, you’re processing and you’re ready to go,” he said.
Selling style varies from contestant to contestant, but the most notable difference is between contestants from other countries.
“, we’re in kilos is the first thing, which isn’t a great deal of difference — it’s just weight I suppose,” said Anthony O’Dwyer, a contestant from Australia. “But we’re always selling with the bid we’ve got, not asking for the next one.”
Contestants are judged on voice control, rhythm, clarity, livestock knowledge and ability to spot bids.
“Is this going to be an auctioneer you can sit and listen to all day long?” said Skeels.
“Bottom line is: Is this an auctioneer that you would hire and want to sell your livestock?”
The 10 finalists are Tim Yoder, Trev Moravec, Wade Leist, Ryan Hurlburt, Tyler Rosehill, Jordie Waters, Ross Annett, Darcy Sheets, Kirk Goldsmith and Brad Martens.
The winner of the championship will get a spot in the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, receive a custom design buckle and $10,000 in prize money.