Iowa man wins World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier

Russell Sleep, Bedford, Iowa, was named Champion at the 2019 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship Midwestern Regional Qualifying Event on Oct. 1. Holdenville Livestock Market in Holdenville, Oklahoma, hosted the first of three WLAC qualifying events on Oct. 1. A total of 32 contestants competed for a top 10 placing, granting them a spot in the 2019 WLAC at Tulare Sales Yard in Tulare, California.

Sleep says it was a great honor to be named the champion amongst 31 other top-notch auctioneers at the Midwest Qualifier. Having competed in WLAC qualifying events since 2009, Sleep is no rookie to the contest. He’s qualified for the WLAC seven consecutive years, and notes his goal is to take home the WLAC title in 2019.

“As champion, I’d enjoy the opportunity to tour different markets across the country and make ranchers more aware of the benefits of true price discovery by selling their product through competitive bidding.”

In 2004, Sleep attended auctioneer school at Missouri Auction School and following, took his first auctioneering job selling weigh cows and bulls at the Maryville, Missouri, location for United Producers, Inc. His career has progressed from there, and Sleep now sells five weekly livestock auctions.

Sleep was sponsored by Clarinda Livestock Auction Inc., Clarinda, Iowa; Fort Scott Livestock Market, Inc., Fort Scott, Kansas; SEK Stockyards, LLC, Gas, Kansas; Russell Livestock Market and Green City Livestock Marketing.

Also making a great showing were Reserve Champion Dean Edge, Rimbey, Alberta, Runner-Up Vernon Yoder, Dundee, Ohio, and Top Rookie Josh Garcia, Goliad, Texas. The remaining contestants who earned a top ten finish are Jim Hertzog, Butler, Missouri; Will Epperly, Dunlap, Iowa; Dustin Smith, Jay, Oklahoma; Neil Bouray, Webber, Kansas; Chuck Bradley, Rockford, Alabama; Curis Wetovick, Fulerton, Nebraska; Dakota Davis, Caldwell, Kansas.

A live cattle sale took place with actual bidders in the seats. Contestants were judged on the clarity and quality of their auction chant; auctioneer presentation; ability to catch bids and conduct the sale; and how likely the judge would be to hire the auctioneer. Judges for each qualifying event are livestock market owners and managers from across the United States.

Other contestants who competed are Bill Nance, Sheldon, Missouri; Sterlyn Paiz, Portalies, New Mexico; Lander Nicodemus, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Marshal Tingle, Nicholasville, Kentucky; Jeremy Miller, Fairland, Oklahoma; Wade Leist, Boyne City, Michigan; Zach Ballard, Grant City, Missouri; Joshua Garcia, Goliad, Texas; Trey Narramore, Grants, New Mexico; Kirby Hill, Paris, Texas; Jim Settle, Arroyo Grande, California; Jase Hubert, Emporia, Kansas; Andrew Finlay, Carbondale, Kansas; Andy Baumeister, Mullin, Texas; Troy Bradshaw, Lipan, Texas; Tanner Jessup, Hillsboro, Kansas; Chas Tillman, Swink, Oklahoma; Kade Rogge, Rupert, Idaho; Mark Oberholtzer, Loyal, Wisconsin; Terry Moe, Watford City, North Dakota; Jake Hopwood, Valentine, Nebraska; and Ethan Schuette, Washington, Kansas.