Ponoka, Alberta – Jeff Bynum's victory here, in Livestock Marketing Association's second qualifying contest for the 2011 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC), means he'll move on to next summer's 48th annual championship.

And while Bynum certainly wants to win that contest – “I would wear the crown with pride” – he has another goal in mind.

Bynum, of Southside, Ala., said, “I would like to be the first auctioneer from Alabama to be named world champion. I want to show everybody we have some talented auctioneers down here.”

That would be in addition to Bynum, who finished first among 20 contestants at the Vold, Jones & Vold Auction Co. on Oct. 23.

Named reserve champion, or second place, was Paul Ramirez, Tucson, Ariz. Runner-up champion, or third place, went to Rodney Burnett, Enderby, BC.

The three top winners here are guaranteed spots in the June 25 WLAC, in Williamston, S.C., as are the next five highest scoring contestants.

They are, in alphabetical order: Rob Bergevin, Stavely, AB; Charly Cummings, Yates Center, Kan.; Peter Raffan, Armstrong, BC.; Travis Rogers, Westlock, AB; and Shane Wolff, Golden Valley, N.D.

Bynum, 45, has been an auctioneer for 27 years. He worked for several years with Bobby Russell, who won the 1977 WLAC.

Bynum said he's spent countless hours listening to tapes, and watching videos made by former world champions Ralph Wade, John Korrey and Lex Madden, among others.

Asked what it takes to be a world champion, he said, “To be a great auctioneer, first you've got to be a great person.”

Bynum was sponsored by three Alabama markets, Fort Payne Stockyard, Inc., Fort Payne; Valley Stockyard, Inc., Decatur; and Arab Livestock Market, Inc., Arab.

For Reserve Champion Ramirez, Ponoka marked his 8th time in the contest. His highest finish to date was among the 10 finalists in the 2008 WLAC.

He's also won the 2009 International Livestock Auctioneer Championship (ILAC), held in conjunction with the annual Calgary Stampede. He's been a full-time auctioneer for “about 10 years.”

Asked to assess the competition in Ponoka, Ramirez, 46, said it was “super tough. Some of these young guys are just tremendous.”

Being named reserve champion “among some of the best auctioneers in the world is a real honor,” he said, “especially since my goal was to finish among the top eight.”

Ramirez was sponsored by two Arizona markets: Willcox Livestock Auction, Inc., Willcox, and Pacific Livestock Auction, Chandler.

Burnett, a first-time contest entrant, admitted he was surprised at being named runner-up champion. But, he said, “You should always be surprised. If you go into a contest thinking you're going to win, you've got the wrong attitude.”

He said during his time in the auction block, “My nerves got the best of me” for a short time, “but I'll get that in check (at the WLAC) and we'll carry on.”

Burnett was sponsored by Valley Auction Ltd., Armstrong, BC.

A cash award and a custom-made belt buckle are awarded to the winner in each quarterfinal competition. The reserve and runner-up champions in each contest also receive custom buckles.

The first qualifying contest was Sept. 13 in Montgomery, Ala. The remaining two are Oct. 28, at Burlington Livestock Exchange, Burlington, Colo., and March 4, 2011, at Bloomington Livestock Exchange, Bloomington, Wisc.

The eight top scorers in each qualifying contest, along with the current ILAC winner – Tom Frey, of Creston, Iowa – make up the field of 33 for next June's 2011 WLAC.

It will be held at Upstate Livestock Exchange, LLC, and hosted by Upstate and Martin & Martin Cattle, Inc., both of Williamston, S.C.

At the WLAC, three titlists are named and the winners receive thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.

LMA conducts the WLAC and qualifying contests to put the focus on competitive livestock marketing, and the continuing vital role of the auctioneer in that process.


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