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Kansas auctioneer named world champion

By Doug Rich

Charly Cummings, Yates Center, Kan., is the 2011 World Livestock Auctioneer champion. The announcement was made during the awards ceremony at the Livestock Marketing Association annual convention held June 25 in Greenville, S.C.

Reserve grand champion was Justin Dodson from Welch, Okla., and first runner-up was Dustin Focht from Stillwater, Okla.

"It is hard to believe but it is real," Cummings said after receiving the award. "When my name was called it was pretty overwhelming."

Cummings said one of the first things that came to mind after being named the world champion was that he would be able to give something back to the LMA and to the livestock auction industry that has given so much to him.

This was Cummings fourth time in the contest. He took third place last year in the 2010 contest and he was rookie of the year in 2008 his first time in the contest. John McBride, LMA director of information, said that award goes to the highest scoring first year entrant.

Cummings said the difference this year was that he has matured a lot in the last four years since he first competed in the auctioneering contest. He learned that it is just as important to be a spokesman as it is to be a bid caller.

"Charly has matured tremendously in his talents and abilities as a spokesman for industry over the last four years," said Kristen Parman, vice present of Member Service at LMA.

This is important because the interview part of the competition accounts for 25 percent of the semi-round score, which determines the top 10 and 25 percent of the final round score, which determines the championship rankings. During the auction portion of the contest entrants are judged on bid catching ability, clarity of chant, voice quality, and expedition of the sale. In addition to these qualities each judge is asked if they would hire this auctioneer for their sale barn. All of the contest judges are livestock market owners or operators.

Cummings said the style of auctioneering in the south, where they sell cattle one at time, is much faster. Cattle go through the sale ring quickly but the buyers are accustomed to the pace. He said the style of auctioneering is much slower in the Midwest.

"You can tell a difference in the chant," Cummings said.

Each of the 32 contestants had an average of five minutes on the action block to display their skills to the judges. About 1,100 heifers, young steers, and bulls were brought in for the event which was held at the Upstate Livestock Exchange in Williamston, S.C. Sandra Fulghum, who manages Upstate Livestock Exchange with her husband, said the quality of the auctioneers boosted the average price paid for cattle that day by about 10 cents a pound.

As World Champion Cummings will receive $5,000 in cash, a custom-designed diamond ring, and the free use of a 2011 Ford 150 pickup for a year.

Doug Rich can be reached by phone at 785-749-5304 or by e-mail at richhpj@aol.com.

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