Brian Curless, Pittsfield, Ill., was named Champion at the 2015 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) Western Regional Qualifying Event. The third of three qualifiers was hosted by Torrington Livestock Markets, Torrington, Wyo., on January 14. A total of 23 contestants competed for a top 10 placing that grants them a spot in the 2015 WLAC at Clifton Livestock Commission Co. in Clifton, Texas.

Curless has been a livestock auctioneer for over twenty years, but did not start competing in the WLAC Qualifying Events until being encouraged by a past WLAC Champion in 2011. Since then, Curless has won two WLAC Qualifying Events and qualified for the WLAC three times. 

"I'm looking forward to another opportunity to swing the bat," said Curless about his excitement for another chance to win the World Livestock Auctioneer Champion title. 

Curless was sponsored by Fairview Sale Barn, Fairview, Ill., and F&T Livestock, Palmyra, Mo. 

Also making a great showing were Reserve Champion Russele Sleep, Bedford, Iowa and Runner-Up Justin Mebane, Bakersfield, Calif. The remaining contestants who earned a top ten finish are Bill Cook, Huntley, Mont., Garrett Jones, Los Banos, Calif., Jared Miller, Leon, Iowa; Paul Ramirez, Tuscon, Ariz.; Duane Rus, Rock Valley, Iowa; Kevin Schow, Paxton, Neb.; and Preston Smith, Imperial, Neb.

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

Other contestants who competed are Ross Annett, Brooks, Alberta; Jake Billington, Twin Falls, Idaho; Johnny Borba, Woodlake, Calif., Dustin Burkhart, Tehachapi, Calif.; Jake Cheechov, Eugene, Ore.; Dan Clark, Winner, S.D.; Mason Duncan, Fort Duchesne, Utah; Michael Imbrogno, Fresno, Calif.; Rick Lehman, Gilbert, Ariz.; Larry Nisly, Quaker City, Ohio; Garrett Underwood, Louisville, Ky.; Shane Wolff, Golden Valley, N.D.; and Zack Zumstein, Prairie, Idaho. 

The contest will re-air January 17 on www.LMAauctions.com beginning at 12:00 p.m. CST.

For more information, contact Lindsay Graber at lgraber@lmaweb.com.

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 held 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, 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 held 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 auction market that shares in the favorable publicity generated by the winners.

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, 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 approximately 800 member businesses across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.LMAWeb.com.