Those with a gift for gab will be competing to see who is the best at the 23rd Annual International Livestock Auctioneer Championships July 15 and 16.
Contestants will begin the bidding at the Calgary Stockyards Ltd. here in Strathmore on July 15 at 10 a.m. The event, organized by the Calgary Stampede, rotates between Strathmore, Olds and High River.
“We’ve been doing it for about 30 years. It was always a Calgary Stampede function and then it grew too big for them to handle so they started having preliminary rounds at the satellite markets,” said Bryan Danard with Calgary Stockyards.
“Our main auctioneer here, Cliff Pahl, will be competing this year. He is our full-time auctioneer here. This will be his third or fourth time in the competition.”
There will be approximately 30 competitors coming mainly from across Canada and the U.S. Danards expects about 2,000 head of cattle will be sold during the preliminary round.
“They are all current auctioneers that sell for a living at different auction markets. This is just their chance to showcase their talents,” said Danard.
“To someone that doesn’t know what an auctioneer sounds like, they all kind of sound the same. Once you get to know them, there’s a big difference between a good one and a bad one.”
There are a number of things the competitors are being judged on including spotting bids, rhythm, clarity, voice control, livestock knowledge, the ability to conduct a sale and more. Danard said the stands will be full, but out of all of the people at the auction only 20 of them may be buyers so it is up to the auctioneers to figure out who those buyers are and close the sale strong.
Bruce Flewelling has worked at Calgary Stockyards all his life, and is one of the main auctioneers.
“My dad auctioneered at all them… socials and stuff and when I was a kid I just kind of took after him and I just practiced, and practiced and practiced, then I started selling at the Calgary Stockyards. I worked here quite a while before I starting auctioneering,” said Flewelling.
In 1981 and 1982 he competed in the competition and came away with second place. Flewelling also competed a third time, winning third place.
“It was just the thing to do, we all auctioneered, just (to) try to win it,” said Flewelling.
Danard said they are still looking for auctioneers to participate. Anyone interested can go to the Stockyards located one mile west of Strathmore and they will be given an entry form. Or interested parties can call 403-234-7429, and a form can be e-mailed or faxed.