BILLINGS, Mont. – An Ohio man was among 10 finalists in the Livestock Marketing Association’s world auctioneer championship.
Ron Kreis of Adamsville, Ohio, was among the top 10 auctioneers at the 41st annual competition held June 18.
World champion. Dan Skeels, 32, of Rimbey, Alberta, won the event; he’s only the second Canadian auctioneer to win the world title.
Skeels, who said he “never guessed this day would come,” won the top title following competition at the Public Auction Yards. This year was the eighth time Skeels has entered the contest, conducted each year to spotlight the livestock auctioneer’s role in competitive livestock marketing.
His highest previous finish came in 1999, when he was named reserve world champion. Skeels has finished among the top 10 finalists six times. He succeeds Jon Schaben of Dunlap, Iowa, the 2003 champion.
Baby overdue. Skeels had another reason to be nervous and excited: While waiting for the winners to be announced, he said that his wife “is nine and one-half months pregnant” with their second child.
Will try again. Named reserve world champion this year – for the second straight year – was Matt Lowery, Burwell, Neb.
Finishing second for the second straight time didn’t bother Lowery, 28. “It’s a pleasure to be picked,” he said, adding, “I’m going to stay in the contest.”
Until they win. Contestants can pursue the world title until they win it. Contest rules prohibit only the world champion from re-entering.
Al Wessel, Long Prairie, Minn., the reigning Canadian International Livestock Auctioneer Champion, took the runner-up world champion title.
Win money. Cash awards from LMA of $5,000 went to Skeels, $2,000 to Lowery, and $1,000 to Wessel.
Ten finalists. The top three auctioneers emerged from a field of 10 finalists. Other finalists in addition to the Ohioan Kreis were Lance Cochran, Medford, Okla.; Justin Dodson, Welch, Okla.; Trent Stewart, Redmond, Ore.; Brian Little, Wann, Okla.; Dustin Focht, Stillwater, Okla.; and Tom Frey, Creston, Iowa.
The contest began with the semi-finalists all selling several drafts of cattle. The ring-side judges, all market owners, scored them on vocal clarity and quality, bid-catching ability, and their talent at keeping the sale moving.
Presentation skills. The top 10 scorers then entered the finals, again selling more cattle. The judges used the same criteria they used in rating the semi-finalists.
The semi-finalists each were judged during a simulated news conference on their skill as a spokesman for the marketing sector. These scores were added to the scores they made selling cattle. The combined score is a factor both in who goes to the finals, and who wins the three world titles.
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