The key to being a good livestock auctioneer is simple, according to Canadian Livestock Auctioneer champion Ryan Konynenbelt.
“There is no secret. Just do what you love to do.”
He won the Canadian title earlier this month in competition held as part of the Livestock Markets Association of Canada annual convention.
The Nobleford, Alta., resident followed that with a trip to Tulare, California, to compete in the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, where he finished in the top 10 and was named rookie of the year.
Konynenbelt won the International Livestock Auctioneer Championship at last year’s Calgary Stampede, and that entitled him to enter the California event this year.
Now with a few trophies under his belt, Konynenbelt plays no favourites in terms of which one is most meaningful.
“I don’t think one is better than the other. It’s pretty cool to be named the Canadian champion. There’s a lot of good auctioneers in Canada that do a great job.”
Konynenbelt works at Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange in Fort Macleod, Alta., where he manages the yards as well as sharing auctioneer duties. His winning ways have resulted in some producers requesting that he sell their livestock, but that’s an exception rather than a common occurrence.
“The odd time, some of those guys like me to sell. But we all do our best here for producers.”
Konynenbelt had been an auctioneer for several years even before he attended auction school in Billings, Montana, in 2015.
“I never really had a mentor or trainer. I picked up what I could from people in the industry, from the guys here at the market. I learned from them and kind of did my own thing.”
His LMAC win came with a custom belt buckle and engraved ring, a bronze sculpture of an auctioneer and use of a new 24-foot stock trailer for one year. The latter will come in handy because Konynenbelt is also in the sheep and goat business.
Despite that, he says cattle are his preferred species when it comes to selling livestock while holding the gavel.
“That’s our bread and butter. And that’s what I love to do, working for the producers down here. Doing the best job we can to market their cattle through our video sales and through our ring sales.”
Now that he has won major titles, Konynenbelt can no longer compete in those same events. Instead he will attend as a past champion and undertake judging duties.
“It’ll be different,” he said. “But in competitions, I think it’s more about the social aspect than it is about the competition sometimes…. It’s a great atmosphere to be in.”
Two other Canadian auctioneers also made the top 10 at the world championships. Dean Edge of Rimbey, Alta., and Brennin Jack of Prince Albert, Sask., are on that list of achievers.