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Barthel headed back to WLAC competition

Mitch Barthel, the owner and auctioneer of Perham Stockyards, will compete at the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship in June. It will be his fourth time competing at the event. Submitted photo

Perham’s own Mitch Barthel is headed back to the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) for his fourth try at the title.

On Jan. 2, Barthel qualified for the competition at the regional contest in Butler, Mo.

Two other regional competitions were held in Dinuba, Calif. and Stanford, Ky. earlier in 2013.

The semi-final and final rounds will be held on June 21in Knoxville, Iowa, as part of the Livestock Marketing Association’s annual convention.

The 51st world competition will bring together 31semi-finalists: 10 from each regional contest and the International Auctioneer Champion.

In order to prepare, Barthel has begun practicing for the semi-finals’ interview portion.

 “Last year, I was in the top 10 for the auctioning,” said Barthel.

However, his interview, which is worth 25 percent of the total points, did not go as well, and he finished in 11th place.

There are three questions in the interview, and no one knows what they will be, explained Barthel.

Contestants are able to practice with a Livestock Marketing Association representative.

After the interview, each semi-finalist will sell eight drafts of livestock in a live auction. Five judges will score the contestants on their auction chant, voice quality, ability to catch bids, conduct of the sale and whether or not the judge would hire him or her.

Anyone at the contest is capable of taking the champion title, said Barthel. The key is to keep nerves under control and not get too excited.

No matter how the contest ends, Barthel expects it will be another enjoyable year at the convention.

The Livestock Marketing Convention has been held in Minnesota twice:  at the St. Paul Union Stockyards in South St. Paul, Minn. in 1981 and the Fergus Falls Livestock Auction Market, Inc. in Fergus Falls in 2009.

Only one Minnesotan auctioneer has won the WLAC: Paul Behr from St. Paul took the title in 1989.

The contest will stream live on