Thompson wins top title at LMA's World Livestock Auctioneer Championship in Fergus Falls
There was just one championship title left for Ty Thompson to win in Livestock Marketing Association's World Livestock Auctioneer Championship--that of world champion.
And that's the one he took home, following competition here June 13 at the Fergus Falls Livestock Auction Market.
This was the Billings, Mont., auctioneer's 12th time in the WLAC. He's come close to winning the contest, taking the reserve championship twice, and the runner-up spot last year. Before this year, he'd also been one of the ten finalists seven times.
The 2009 reserve world champion is Tom Frey, Creston, Iowa, and the runner-up world champion is Kyle J. Shobe, Lewistown, Mont.
Asked about the 12 years he's spent pursuing the world title, Thompson said, "I'm thankful it took this long, because I think it'll make me a better champion."
His championship year will put him on the road for LMA, appearing at livestock markets and other events across the country--and Thompson said he's "looking forward to it, because livestock marketing has been good to me and my family, and I want to give something back."
He was sponsored by Public Auction Yards, Billings Livestock Commission, Northern Livestock Video, all in Billings, and Winter Livestock, Inc./Riverton Livestock Auction, Riverton, Wyo.
Reserve world champion Frey is also a veteran contestant, having been a finalist several times. His previous highest finish was runner-up world champion in 2007.
At age 47, Frey is very aware of the many younger contestants vying for the title. As far as re-entering the contest, he said, "If my staying in the contest keeps the young guys interested in auctioneering and the contest, I'll keep entering."
His sponsors were the market he owns and operates, Creston Livestock Auction, Inc., Creston, Iowa, and Unionville Livestock Market, Inc., Unionville, Mo.
Runner-up world champion isn't the only title Shobe won. He was also named the Audrey K. Banks "Rookie of the Year," the highest-scoring first-time entrant to make the semi-finals. That earned him a $500 check from LMA.
The award is named in honor of Banks, a long-time LMA employee who worked on the WLAC for over three decades.
Shobe, 26, said he felt "blown away" by his success as a first-time entrant.
"I was surprised to make the finals, and I didn't think I had a chance to make the top three," he said.
His sponsors were the Lewistown Livestock Auction, Lewistown, Mont.
The remaining seven finalists, who emerged from a field of 33 contestants, were, in alphabetical order, Charly Cummings, Yates Center, Kan.; Justin Dodson, Welch, Okla.; Jim Hertzog, Greenwood, Mo.; Mike Nuss, Minatare, Neb.; Ted Odle, Brush, Colo.; Jason Santomaso, Sterling, Colo. and Kevin Schow, Paxton, Neb.
From LMA, Thompson received a $5,000 check, the Champion's sculpture, a hand-tooled Billy Cook roping saddle, a custom-made belt buckle, and for use his championship year, a new 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Quad Cab 4x4 Z-71 truck.
He received the custom-designed world champion ring from the host market.
From LMA's reigning champion, Matt Lowery, he was presented a hand-tooled, custom leather briefcase. The Missouri Auction School presented him the Gold Microphone Award, and from the World Wide College of Auctioneering, the Golden Gavel Award.
LMA awards the reserve champion and the runner-up champion $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, along with custom-made belt buckles. The runner-up also gets a crystal gavel, and the reserve champ, a Waterford crystal decanter and matching glasses.
The finalists receive custom belt buckles from LMA, and windbreakers from TenStar Technologies. The semi-finalists are awarded barbecue tools from LMA, jackets and caps from the host market and portfolios from TenStar.
The Championship is an actual sale. Six judges score the semi-finalists on vocal clarity and quality, talent at keeping the sale moving, bid-catching ability, and by answering the question, "Would I hire this auctioneer?"
A portion of the contestant's score is determined by a pre-contest interview, where they're judged on several criteria, including clarity of expression/articulation, knowledge of, and the ability to act as a spokesman for, the livestock marketing sector.
The 33 semi-finalists are narrowed to 10 finalists, who then sell more cattle, and are judged on the above criteria. This year was the 46th annual WLAC.
LMA will again use four quarterfinal competitions to qualify contestants for the 2010 WLAC. The eight top-scoring contestants at each competition advance to the June WLAC. The 33rd contestant is the International Auctioneer Champion, who is traditionally given a "bye" into the semi-finals.
The quarterfinals will be Sept. 25 at Public Auction Yards, Billings, Mont.; Oct. 9 at Crawford Livestock Market LLC, Crawford, Neb.; Oct. 15 at Calhoun Stockyard Hwy. 53, Inc., Calhoun, Ga. and Dec. 2 at Parsons Livestock Market, Inc., Parsons, Kan.
The 2010 WLAC will be June 19 at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, Inc., Oklahoma City, helping to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Stockyards.
LMA conducts the annual WLAC to spotlight competitive livestock marketing, and the auctioneer's continuing vital role in that process.