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Making the call as Canada’s top auctioneer

Millbank’s own Calvin Kuepfer was named Top Canadian Auctioneer last weekend after competing in the 18th annual Livestock Markets Association of Canada convention in Winnipeg.

While it’s impressive enough to be named top dog in a pool of 30 of the best auctioneers from coast to coast, it’s even more so because he’s completely self-taught.

“Lots of people go to school. For me I just wanted to be an auctioneer. It came to me naturally I guess. I practiced a lot at home. Every minute that I was by myself I think I was selling something in the barn,” Kuepfer says with a laugh.

This is the first time since 1999 someone from Ontario has won the national title. He’s certainly earned his bragging rights, but he stays humble, noting the skill of his competitors.

“The competition was very, very good,” Kuepfer said. “It was actually a very tough competition. It was very close. I think there were three guys that were tied for second. It was a very tight competition.”

This was the third time he’s gone out West to compete. He says everyone is so hospitable and the Western guys took good care of him. His attendance at the event was sponsored by the Ontario Livestock Exchange, his employer. Winning the Ontario championship in February also made him eligible to go.

“They have six judges and they all score you on speed and clarity and rhythm, and professionalism is a big factor,” Kuepfer said. “If they think that you’re capable of running your own sale barn, running your own auction business and they score you and they add all the scores together and whoever has the highest score is the winner.”

He never planned to compete, but got into it when he saw the national competition held at OLEX in 2010. Not much of the competitive type, once he started he kept going back because he did so well. But winning has never been the goal for him.

“I went to meet all the old friends out there and make new friends,” Kuepfer said. “It’s not just about the competition. It’s about everybody in Western Canada when they have the annual Livestock Markets Association of Canada convention. You just meet a lot of people and learn a lot of stuff every time you go. It really wasn’t about winning. It’s great to win. I’m glad I won it but it’s not about winning. It’s about meeting everybody and having a lot of friends out there.”

At the competition they had to sell cattle to real buyers in an auction. Judges watched how they interacted with the crowd and who could get the most money for the animal.

It’s been 10 years since he started auctioneering and started his own horse sale, Waterloo County Horse Sales, at OLEX. He’s always known it’s what he wanted to do.

“I went to a lot of auctions with my dad when I was young and I wanted to be an auctioneer,” Kuepfer said. “I just started selling at farm sales and whatever around home and it wasn’t long until OLEX started me here. Then I started selling cattle here. I didn’t really grow up in the cattle business, but I got selling cattle and I really enjoy it. I don’t want to do anything else now.”

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