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Ty Thompson, LMA’s Miles City auctioneer contest winner, wants to add WLAC’s top title to his impressive list of wins

MILES CITY, MONT. -- Ty Thompson moved closer to the only World Livestock Auctioneer Championship title he hasn’t won – that of champion – with a recent victory here.

Thompson, of Billings, Mont., won Livestock Marketing Association’s first quarterfinal qualifying contest for the 2009 WLAC. He defeated 30 other contestants in competition at Miles City Livestock Commission on Sept. 9.

The reserve champion was Tom Frey, Creston, Iowa, and the runner-up champion was Dan Clark, Winner, S.D.

In addition to the three winners, the next five highest scoring contestants qualify for the June, 2009 WLAC, the 46th annual. It will be conducted at Fergus Falls Livestock Auction Market, Inc., Fergus Falls, Minn.

In Miles City, those five were, in alphabetical order, Mitch Barthel, Perham, Minn.; Mike Nuss, Minatare, Neb.; Jason Santomaso, Sterling, Colo.; Kevin Schow, Paxton, Neb., and Kyle Shobe, Lewistown, Mont.

Thompson’s list of WLAC titles is impressive. He’s the current runner-up world champion, has won the reserve title, or second-place, twice, and has been a top ten finalist seven times.

And he won the first quarterfinal contest for the 2008 WLAC, held last fall in Turlock, Calif.

Is this Thompson’s year to take home the world champion title?

“You never know,” he said. “I do know that I’ve improved every year I’ve competed.” Laughing, Thompson said, “I’ve sure pleased a lot of judges over the years, just not enough to put me first.”

What keeps him competing has changed over the years.

“At first, I just wanted to win the world title.” And while that’s still important, he said, “The livestock marketing business has been good to me and my family, and I think by participating in the contest, you help promote selling livestock at auction. It’s my way of giving back to the industry.”

Thompson was sponsored by Public Auction Yards, Billings Live Stock Commission and Northern Livestock Video, all in Billings, and Winter Livestock, Inc., . d/b/a Riverton Livestock Auction, Riverton, Wyo.

Miles City reserve champion Frey has been in the WLAC “about 12 times,” and has been a finalist “five or six times.” His highest finish was 2007, when he was named runner-up world champion.

Last year he won the third quarterfinal contest, in Fort Payne, Ala.

For him, the driving force behind seeking the world title “is the need for a spokesman for the industry.” The world champion spends much of his year traveling to livestock markets and other events, where he is often asked questions on a wide range of industry issues.

Frey, who’s been auctioneering since he was 16, said he’d welcome that role.

And he believes that “if LMA is willing to award you the title of champion, you should take it on and promote what we all believe in, the auction method of selling.”

He was sponsored by the market he’s owned for 10 years, Creston Livestock Auction, Inc., and by Unionville Livestock Market, Inc., Unionville, Mo.

Clark, the Miles City runner-up champion, has been auctioneering for 25 years, and is a graduate of the World Wide College of Auctioneering, Mason City, Ia.

Competing in the Fergus Falls world championship will mark his 10th time in the WLAC. He has been among the top 10 finalists four times.

The competition at Miles City “was like always – tough,” Clark said. “Overall, there was a lot of talent there.”

Winning the world title next June “would mean I’ve reached the goal I set for myself many years ago.”

Clark was sponsored by Charles Mix County Livestock Market, Inc., Platte, S.D., Presho Livestock Auction, Presho, S.D., and Winner Livestock Auction Co., Winner, S.D.

The three remaining quarterfinals will be Oct. 29 at Texhoma Livestock Auction, LLC, Texhoma, Okla.; Nov. 18 at Muskingum Livestock Auction Co., Zanesville, Ohio, and Dec. 2 at Kingsville Livestock Auction, Kingsville, Mo.

The champion in each quarterfinal competition receives a cash award and a custom-made belt buckle. The reserve and runner-up champions in each contest also receive custom belt buckles.

The eight qualifiers from each quarterfinal contest, along with the reigning International Auctioneer Champion, will make up the field for the 2009 WLAC.

Three titlists will be selected, and the winners take home thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.

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

Contact: John McBride, LMA, 800-821-2048