By DOUG GRAVES
ATHENS, Ga. — Daniel Mitchell of Cumberland, Ohio, always felt he had a gift of gab and a love of the livestock business. He put those two abilities to good use last month by winning the East regional qualifying event of the 2019 World Livestock Auctioneer Championships (WLAC) in Athens, Ga.
Northeast Georgia Livestock in Athens hosted the final of three WLAC qualifying events. A total of 24 contestants from 14 states and Canadian provinces competed for a top 10 placing, earning them a spot in the 2019 WLAC finals at the Tulare Sales Yard in Tulare, Calif., June 5-8.
“The most challenging part of the WLAC event is the interview portion,” Mitchell said. “This is what I plan to work on prior to June, not only for the contest but for my day-to-day use as well. I’m a spokesman for my customers and this industry.”
He has qualified for the Livestock Marketing Assoc. (LMA) WLAC eight times since his first competition in 2012. He moves on to the WLAC semifinals where the competition is composed of two parts: an interview and live auction selling.
“Over my years of competition, I’ve gained a lot of lifelong auctioneer friends from many different states,” he said. “Each WLAC event I attend, I take something new I’ve learned from the other auctioneers and back to our business.”
In the most recent competition, Mitchell and other contestants were judged on the clarity and quality of their auction chant, auctioneer presentation, ability to catch bids and conduct the sale.
Each auctioneer, he said, was judged on how likely the judge would be to hire them. Judges for each qualifying event are actual livestock market owners and managers as well as allied industry members from across the United States and Canada.
Mitchell is a second-generation auctioneer. He grew up attending farm sales and other auction events with his father, also an auctioneer. After graduating from auction school he entered the livestock auction business.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be named the top person of the qualifier,” he said. “This gives me the confidence boost I needed going into the championship round.”
The Mitchell family owns Parkersburg Livestock Exchange, LLC and Jackson County Regional Livestock Market, LLC. Both are located in West Virginia.
There were other competitors from this region, including reserve champions Jay Romine of Mt. Washington, Ky.; Patrick Prather of Richmond, Ky.; Marshal Tingle of Nicholasville, Ky.; Wade Leist of Boyne City, Mich.; Jacob Massey of Petersburg, Tenn.; Chad Wilson of Portland, Tenn.; Larry Nisly of Quaker City, Ohio; and Ross Parks of New Concord, Ohio.
The contest got its start in 1963 at a hotel in Denver. It has since been held in California, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Kansas, South Dakota and Canada. On average, nearly 100 auctioneers enter the qualifying events and only 31 are selected to compete in the WLAC.
Regional competition is held in different markets around the country, followed by semi-final and final action each June. Contestants must be 18 or older, employed as a livestock auctioneer and sponsored by a local auction market that shares in the favorable publicity generated by the winners.
The LMA is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.
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