By: Ari Yanover, Ag Media committee

Livestock auctions are just like any other auction: lots are introduced, bidders prepare to bid, and auctioneers get to work, railing off up to 100 words per minute as they work to sell the cattle that come through.

In that sense, livestock auctions are not just like any other auction: they involve livestock. Ringmen bring the lots – live cattle – in to a pen, allowing prospective buyers a look during the bidding. The cattle are then ushered out, the next lot takes their place, and so on and so forth, until all are sold – an amount that can include a couple thousand in a particularly big sale.

Cattle are often auctioned off to be bred or fed. Those bidding on livestock are professional buyers in the industry who have specific orders and direction on what to bid on. It’s very different from the typical miscellaneous auction you may be able to find.

The Calgary Stampede International Livestock Auctioneer Championships, then, are further different still. These are some of the top auctioneers in the entire world, and it shows. Taking in their performances is a treat in and of itself, but how about getting to participate in a bid from some of the best in the business?

The Stampede gives everyone the chance to participate. Each of the top 10 auctioneers will have a “black box” item – an item that’s not livestock, that absolutely anyone can bid on.

So, how does one go about it? We’ve got a couple of tips and tricks for you right here!

DO: Get the auctioneer’s attention. You can’t place a bid if the auctioneer isn’t aware of it! When the auctioneer sees you, they will acknowledge you. Be sure you’re somewhere visible so the auctioneer will catch your bid, keep yourself visible, and keep bidding!

DON’T: Be afraid! It’s a myth that you can reach up to scratch your nose and accidentally bid on a cow (or anything else, really). Professional auctioneers often joke about it. They’re professionals, after all – they know the difference between a bid and an involuntary movement. Especially when they’re the best in the business!

DO: Know your limit. Make sure you know your budget, and quit bidding when it gets too much for you. If you have to bow out, you have to bow out, and the auctioneer will confirm that.

Most of all, though, the best thing you can do to participate is have fun! These are 10 of the best livestock auctioneers there are, and it’s a treat to listen to them. They’re very good, the rhythm is amazing, and it’s a blast to be at – whether you’re taking part in the auction or not!

The Calgary Stampede International Livestock Auctioneer Championships take place on July 14 in Strathmore, with the top 10 facing off at the Agrium Western Event Centre at 11:30 a.m. July 15.