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Auctioneer competition coming to Rugby

By Staff | Feb 1, 2019

Submitted photo Mike Ostrem competes at the Greater Midwest Livestock Auctioneer Competition in Herried, S.D. three years ago

Rugby Livestock Auction will welcome auctioneers from several states throughout the United States a week from Monday when the sale barn hosts the 30th annual Greater Midwest Livestock Auctioneer Competition.

Organizer and auctioneer Mike Ostrem, Rugby, told the Tribune the competition, which starts at 8:00 a.m. Monday, February 11, began in 1989 in West Fargo.

“It was originally the Tri-State Auction Competition. It was originally North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota. It has expanded over the years now to the Greater Midwest. It rotates among six states now: North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska,” Ostrem said.

Although the competition rotates sites in 6 midwestern states, contestants from all over the United States and Canada are welcome to participate, Ostrem noted.

“We’ll probably have somewhere around 35 of some of the top auctioneers from across the whole United States here competing for the title at the Greater Midwest,” he added.

Ostrem described the competition as “oftentimes thought of as the indicator for the World’s Championship. Many times, whoever wins the Greater Midwest is the World Champion not too many years down the line. So, we’re looking at having some of the top auctioneers in the whole US here competing.”

Ostrem cited Jared Miller, an auctioneer from Iowa who won the Greater Midwest Competition in 2015. “He’s now the reigning World’s Champion.”

Ostrem, who often presides over auctions at Rugby Livestock Auction, has competed for the Greater Midwest title in the past.

“I competed in 2016,” he noted, “when it was in Herreid, South Dakota.” Ostrem said he competed against auctioneers from about ten states in the US. “There was a contestant there from Florida,” he recalled. “There are a lot of contestants that come from Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, as well as contestants that come from North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota.”

“I didn’t win the competition in Herriod; I made the top ten.”

Ostrem noted, ” I can tell, being part of the business, the difference in where they’re from; how they sell, how they sound, how they control the sale.”

“Every region has their own unique way of doing things. A lot of it is, for instance, Marcus Kent – he comes from Dunnellon, Florida, and I don’t know it he’ll be up here, but Marcus typically sells one animal at a time. They’re smaller producers (in Florida), so one guy brings maybe five or six calves. Whereas here, it’s nothing for me to sell five to six hundred calves from one gentleman.”

The contestants will have opportunities to check out the sale barn and do sound checks the weekend before the event. Ostrem said Rugby Livestock Auction will host a dinner for the contestants and their guests the night before the contest. “We draw for order that night, and have a contestant meeting,” he added.

Ostrem said the contest will take place in conjunction with a regular Monday sale at the auction.

“We’ll start right away in the morning with the first round and then they’ll tabulate scores. The top ten will be brought back; the top ten will sell, and then we’ll select a champion and first, second and third place,” Ostrem said.

The public is invited to attend the event. Ostrem said there is no admission charge for the competition, but seating will be limited.

“It’ll be an interesting day just for people interested in the livestock world or the auction world. And it will be open to anybody to see upwards of 30 contestants, and see how they handle a sale, and see how they do things,” Ostrem noted.

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