Stockyards Showdown: Top U.S. livestock auctioneers meet in Minnesota to vie for buckles & bragging rights

More than 30 world-class auctioneers converged on the Tri-County Stockyards in Motley, Minnesota for this year’s World Livestock Auctioneer Championship — compete for buckles, bragging rights, and a big opportunity to represent U.S. auctioneers on a global stage.

October 25th marked an extraordinary sale day at the Tri-County Stockyards in Motley, Minnesota. Amid the usual cattle transactions and bidding routines, 35 highly skilled livestock auctioneers took center stage to compete for top honors as well as a coveted opportunity to represent the United States in the upcoming World Livestock Auctioneer Championship.

The competitors, who hail from all across Rural America, passionately battled for buckles, bragging rights, and the chance to showcase their skills at the prestigious World Livestock Auctioneer Championship scheduled for the following June. The event was a vibrant display of talent, with auctioneer chants filling the air as each participant sought to stand out in the crowd.

In an exhilarating finale, Marcus Kent from Dunnellon, Florida, emerged victorious, expressing his excitement about heading to Oklahoma City for the global championship. Kent, reflecting on his unexpected win, shared, “My goal has always been to make the finals. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would win one. Getting to go to Oklahoma City, one of the biggest markets in the world, I’m very excited about it.”

For Kent, the joy goes beyond accolades; it’s about the connections made. “I’d have to say that I enjoy meeting the people the most. I’ve met some of my best friends at these contests and made some great memories at these contests,” he explained.

Mitch Barthel, a former contestant and host for the qualifying event, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the friendships and camaraderie that make the competition memorable.

The World Livestock Auctioneer Championship and its qualifying events are not only a fun way for peers to connect and compete but also serve as a spotlight on the auction aspect of selling cattle. According to Barthel, it highlights the significance of the auction method for true price discovery, reinforcing the belief that “the top way to sell cattle is the auction way.”

For reserve champion Joshua Garcia, who traveled from South Texas, the event was a unique and worthwhile experience. The thrill of action, getting in the groove of things, and the adrenaline of keeping the sale lively are what make these competitions special for auctioneers like Garcia.

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