Brandon Neely Takes Title at LMA’s 52nd World Livestock Auctioneer Championship
Highlight show to air on RFD-TV June 29 at 8:00 p.m. eastern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Brandon Neely, Southside, Ala., proved his world-class talent as a livestock auctioneer at the 52nd anniversary of Livestock Marketing Association’s (LMA) World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC). The contest was hosted by Clifton Livestock Commission in Clifton, Texas on Saturday, June 13.
As a child, Neely taught himself the skill of auctioneering by selling toys at his family farm. He began professionally selling at the age of 15, and credits part of his success to several livestock marketing industry members – such as 1982 World Livestock Auctioneer Champion, Dan Williams; Col. Gary Vance; Boyd Beegle, Beegle Livestock; and Joe Howell, Orange Livestock Market – for their profound influence on his career.
At 28 years old, Neely has competed in the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship for 9 years, having earned several honors along the way. Most noteable, Neely won the Audrey K. Banks “Rookie of the Year” award in 2007 and had previously been named Champio at two WLAC regional qualifying events.
For Neely, winning the title means he has an exciting year ahead. He is looking forward to serving as an ambassador of the Livestock Marketing Association and livestock marketing industry as he travels across the United States visiting auction markets and attending industry events, such as the LMA D.C. Fly In.
Neely was sponsored by Morris Brothers Stockyard, Pikeville, Tenn.
This year’s champion takes home a customized 2015 GMC Sierra truck to use during the year of his reign; $5,000 cash; a championship bronze sculpture; world champion Gist belt buckle and a hand-tooled leather briefcase from LMA; world champion ring sponsored by Clifton Livestock Commission; the Golden Gavel Award sponsored by the World Wide College of Auctioneering; and a James Reid, Ltd. money clip sponsored by CattleUSA.com.
A special highlight show will air on RFD-TV June 29 beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern. The show will be hosted by 2010 World Livestock Auctioneer Champion, Kyle Shobe.
Other Awards Received
Also making a great showing were the Reserve Champion, Brian Curless, Pittsfield, Ill. and Runner-up Champion, Justin Dodson, Welch, Okla.
As reserve champion, Curless received $2,000 cash, a Gist knife and reserve champion Gist belt buckle from LMA. He was sponsored by Fairview Sale Barn, Inc., Fairview, Ill. and F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra, Mo.
Dodson was sponsored by Parsons Livestock Market, Parsons, Kan.; Anderson County Sales Company, Garnett, Kan.; South Coffeyville Stockyards, Inc., South Coffeyville, Okla.; and Grove Livestock Market. He took home $1,000 cash, a Gist knife and runner-up Gist belt buckle, sponsored by LMA. In addition, Dodson won the award for High Interview score. Doing so, he received $1,000 cash and a hand-tooled leather padfolio from the LMA.
The 2015 Audrey K. Banks “Rookie of the Year” Award winner was Andy White, Ashland, Ohio who was sponsored by United Producers, Inc., Creston, Ohio. White was awarded $500 cash by LMA, in recognition of an impressive display of talent at his first WLAC competition.
The six other 2015 WLAC finalists were Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa; Brennin Jack, Prince Albert, Sask.; Brian Little, Wann, Okla.; Paul Ramirez, Tucson, Arizona; Russele Sleep, Bedford, Iowa; and Preston Smith, Imperial, Neb. All received Gist belt buckles from LMA
Remaining semi-finalists who qualified for the WLAC: Justin Abell, Sigourney, Iowa; Mitch Barthel, Perham, Minn.; Jeff Bynum, Attalla, Ala.; Leon Caselman, Long Lane, Mo.; Bill Cook, Huntley, Mont.; Shannon Davis, Winnsboro, Texas; Philip Gilstrap, Pendleton, S.C.; Mike Godberson, Pawnee, Okla.; Garrett Jones, Los Banos, Calif.; Mark Lane, Russellville, Ala.; Wade Leist, Boyne City, Mich.; Jacob Massey, Petersburg, Tenn.; Blake McDaniel, Tallassee, Ala.; Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif.; Jared Miller, Leon, Iowa; Daniel Mitchell, Cumberland, Ohio; Travis Rogers, Westlock, Alberta; Jay Romine, Mt. Washington, Ky.; Duane Rus, Rock Valley, Iowa; Kevin Schow, Paxton, Neb.; and Robb Taylor, Perkins, Okla. Each of the semi-finalists received a commemorative vest from the LMA and coolers and Moore Maker brand knives from the host market.
WLAC Qualification and Scoring
Thirty of the semi-finalists were selected during three regional qualifying events that took place at LMA member-markets in the U.S. As the International Auctioneer Champion is always given a “bye” to become an automatic semi-finalist, Travis Rogers qualified as the champion from the Calgary Stampede in Canada.
When not on the auction block at the livestock market he regularly sells at, Neely will spend his year traveling the country sharing his auctioneering skills with other livestock auction markets, and acting as a spokesperson for the industry. Therefore, each semi-finalist had an opportunity to establish their knowledge of the livestock marketing business, and their ability to express that knowledge with clarity, in a judged interview session on Friday of the championship.
The auctioneering phase of the contest is conducted during an actual sale, with live bidders in the seats. Contestants were judged on the clarity of their auction chant; vocal quality; their ability to catch bids and conduct the sale; and finally, if the judge would hire the auctioneer for their own livestock market.
Following the semi-finals, ten finalists were selected to return to the auction ring for the final round where they sold additional drafts of cattle, and were judged again, based on the same criteria.
About the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship
In June 1963, the Livestock Marketing Association held the first annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Denver, Colorado. The purpose: to spotlight North America’s top livestock auctioneers and to salute their traditionally important role in the competitive livestock marketing process. That year, 23 auctioneers from the United States and Canada sold the same 20 head of cattle over and over again.
The contest was conducted at hotels until 1967, when it traveled to its first LMA member market. Since then the WLAC has been held in conjunction with the LMA Marketing Industry Convention at member markets around the U.S. and Canada. Recent locations include California, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Kansas, South Dakota and Alberta, Canada.
Though the rules have changed, the enthusiasm for the competition hasn’t. On average each year, nearly 100 auctioneers enter the qualifying events and only 31 (10 from each qualifying event and one from the auctioneering competition at Calgary Stampede) are selected to compete in the WLAC. The championship consists of three stages: the regional qualifying events at different markets around the country, followed by the semi-finals and the finals that are held each June in conjunction with the LMA Annual Convention. Contestants competing for the World Champion title must be 18 years old, employed as a livestock auctioneer and sponsored by a local, fixed-facility auction market that conducts at least one sale per week.
LMA is proud to sponsor an event that brings together North America’s top livestock auctioneers in a competition that showcases professionalism and promotes the auction method of selling livestock.
About the Livestock Marketing Association
The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is North America’s largest membership organization dedicated to supporting, representing and communicating with and for the entire livestock marketing sector. LMA has more than 800 member businesses across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit lmaweb.com.