Top auctioneers compete in Torrington

Contestants Troy Robinett (left to right), Eric Drees and Lane Marbach compete in the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifying event at Torrington Livestock Markets on Monday. Drees was selected as one of the top 10 contestants. Cynthia Sheeley/Torrington Telegram

World Livestock Auctioneer Championship

TORRINGTON – The Torrington Livestock Market was buzzing with energy on Monday, Sept. 11 for the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) Qualifying Event. The cattle producers present witnessed the rare opportunity to have 36 of the best auctioneers across the United States and Canada sell cattle. 

“It is certainly an honor and privilege to be here for this celebration of this auction method of marketing,” contestant Troy Robinett of Decatur, Texas told the audience during his introduction. “The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) has been dedicated to the livestock industry since 1963. They’re dedicated to promoting livestock auctioneers with the format you see here today.”

“What an honor it is for this Texan to have the opportunity to sell at one of the legendary markets in the United States of America,” he continued. 

Throughout the event, each contestant had the opportunity to sell several groups of cattle. During their turn, they were judged on appearance, knowledge of the industry, voice, chant quality and clarity, bid-catching ability and putting all of those criteria together. 

The contestants traveled as far as Downeyville, Ontario, Turlock, California and New Concord, Ohio.

“This is an opportunity to compete and become better at what I do,” contestant Eric Drees of Caldwell, Idaho told the Telegram. “I’m among some of the very best in the business here and they always set that bar really high. So, I always leave one of these contests, whether it’s a qualifier or the big contest, I learn something.”

“Plus, it’s a chance to get reacquainted with old friends,” he continued. “Every one of us, we compete with each other, but we’re also friends. We get to know each other and each other’s families. We’re all here because we want to win, but if one of us stumbles and falls, the rest are there to help him up.”

The top 10 contestants selected from this contest were: Eric Drees of Caldwell, Idaho; Jace Thompson of Billings, Montana; Andrew Sylvester of Westmoreland, Kansas; Michael Imbrogno of Turlock, California; Jason Santomaso of Sterling, Colorado; Dean Edge of Rimbey, Alberta; Brandon Hamel of Natoma, Kansas; Curtis Wetovik of Fullerton, Nebraska; Brennin Jack of Virden, Manitoba; and Wade Leist of Boyne City, Michigan.

Wade Leist was the overall champion, winning a custom belt buckle and a $1,000 cash reward from Torrington Livestock Markets and LMA. Brennin Jack was runner-up champion, winning an LMA belt buckle. Jace Thompson was the reserve champion and high-scoring rookie, winning an LMA belt buckle and a custom money clip. 

These top ten contestants will join the other chosen contestants from the next two qualifier events in the final competition. 

According to the WLAC website,, “In June 1963, the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) held the first annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship. The purpose: to spotlight North America’s top livestock auctioneers and to salute their traditionally important role in the competitive livestock marketing process.”

The first WLAC was held in Denver, Colorado. It attracted auctioneers from all over the United States and Canada. 

“Though the rules have changed, the enthusiasm for the competition hasn’t,” the website stated. “The largest number of entrants in the contest to date was in 1981 when LMA received 105 auctioneer entries.”

The championship consists of three stages, the qualifying event, the semifinals and the finals. Contestants must be selected as one of the top ten in the qualifying events to continue in the competition. 

“The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) is an organization based in Kansas City, Missouri,” Drees said. “They represent over 800 livestock auction markets, brokers and dealers throughout the United States. They’re also the insurance company. They insure not all the markets, but a very high percentage of the markets here in the United States.”

“LMA is proud to sponsor an event that brings together North America’s top livestock auctioneers in a competition that showcased professionalism and promotes the auction method of marketing,” according to the website.

Contestants competing for the world champion title must be 18-years-old, employed as a livestock auctioneer and be sponsored by livestock auction or dealer businesses.

The next qualifying events will be in Motley, Minnesota on Oct. 25 and Paris, Kentucky on Nov. 16. The World Livestock Auctioneer Championship will be held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 12-15, 2024.

The entry is still open for the next two qualifying events. 

To learn more about how to enter the WLAC online, go to

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