Since he became a professional livestock auctioneer in 1992, Pittsfield, Illinois, resident, Brian Curless, “worked the block” and thought about competing in the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC).  But one schedule conflict after another kept him from competing. Until this year.
 
Curless, a first-time entrant into the WLAC, won the fourth and last quarterfinal competition to qualify for the WLAC championship, to be held this June in Turlock, California.
 
“Everyone likes to listen to a good auctioneer, and I love what I do,” said Curless.  “But the possibility of winning the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship and being able to represent both the livestock and auction market industries would be such an honor.  It’s a tremendous opportunity and I’m looking forward to the competition in Turlock.”
 
Curless was sponsored by the Fairview Sale Barn Inc. in Fairview, Illinois, and F&T Commission Co., Inc. in Palmyra, Missouri.
 
The reserve champion in the Groesbeck competition was Bailey Ballou from Elgin, Oklahoma.  He was sponsored by the Oklahoma National Stockyards, Inc. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
 
The runner-up champion was Tanner Ragan from Sulphur Springs, Texas.  Tanner was sponsored by Buffalo Livestock Marketing, Inc. in Buffalo, Texas, and Sulphur Springs Livestock & Dairy Auction in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
 
The World Livestock Auctioneer Championship celebrates its 49th anniversary this year.  The championship was created and is conducted by Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), the national trade association for progressive marketing businesses such as Groesbeck Auction & Livestock.  This year, 33 contestants (eight from the four quarterfinal contests plus the international winner) from 17 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces will compete for the 2012 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship.
 
The LMA presented custom-made belt buckles to the champion, reserve and runner-up champions at each of the four qualifying contests. The three winners from the June WLAC competition (the world champion, reserve and runner-up champions) will take home thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.
 
The other top finishers from the Groesbeck competition who qualified for the championship were:
• Justin Abell from Sigourney, Iowa
• Greg Goudeau from Anderson, Texas
• Jake Jacobs from Yoakum, Texas
• B.J. Monk from Weatherford, Texas
• Billy Younkin from Cecil, Alabama
 
The International Livestock Auctioneer champion is Rod Burnett from Armstrong, British Columbia (Canada).  The additional qualifying contestants from the other three quarterfinal competitions are:
 
Greeley, Colorado:
• Champion Blaine Lotz from Edna, Kansas
• Reserve champion Kevin Schow from Paxton, Nebraska
• Runner-up Russele Sleep from Bedford, Iowa
• Mike Bailey from Jennings, Kansas
• Jeff Bynum from Southside, Alabama
• Dustin Focht from Stillwater, Oklahoma
• Martin Machado from Winton, California
• Daniel Mitchell from Cumberland, Ohio
 
Dickinson, North Dakota:
• Champion Mitch Barthel from New York Mills, Minnesota
• Reserve champion Tye Casey from Plymouth, Indiana
• Runner-up Andrew McDowell from Vandalia, Illinois
• Philip Gilstrap from Pendleton, South Carolina
• Brennin Jack from Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada)
• Travis Rogers from Westlock, Alberta (Canada)
• Duane Rus from Rock Valley, Iowa
• Shane Wolff from Golden Valley, North Dakota
 
Glasgow, Kentucky:
• Champion Brandon Neely from Southside, Alabama
• Reserve champion Darren Carter from Ninety Six, South Carolina
• Runner-up champion Brian Little from Wann, Oklahoma
• Will Epperly from Moneta, Virginia
• Tom Frey from Creston, Iowa
• Blake McDaniel from Tuscumbia, Alabama
• Paul Ramirez from Tucson, Arizona
• Jay Romine from Mount Washington, Kentucky
 
LMA conducts the WLAC and the qualifying contests to put the focus on competitive livestock marketing and the continuing, vital role of the auctioneer in that process.  The qualifying contests and the WLAC are broadcast live at www.LMAAuctions.com.