Gering, Neb., man captures top prize at Greater Midwest Livestock Auction Contest

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Farm Forum

More than 4,000 feeder cattle were presented to an overflow crowd of more than 300 for the annual Greater Midwest Livestock Auctioneer contest held at the Valentine Livestock Auction, Valentine Neb. Thirty-one contestants vied for the top belt buckle and a $1,500 winner’s check Feb. 9. Many time participant, Gering native Don Helberg is the 2013 Greater Midwest champion. Receiving $750 and reserve belt buckle was Brennin Jack, Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Doug Day, Loup City, Neb. was runner up and received $350 and belt buckle.

A lot of energy and anticipation are a natural part of an auctioneer contest. Before the first contestant sold, the national anthem was beautifully sung by Shianna Frye, Valentine, Neb., who is also Miss River City Roundup. Prior to the 10:30 start-up, participants, visitors and buyers were heartily welcomed by shareholders Tom Higgins, Lawrence Turner, Jay Gunnink, Todd Rothleutner & Orville Beyea along with Marie Arendt, wife of manager Greg Arendt.

For the past 21 years, Valentine Livestock has been owned and operated by 26 local ranchers and business people. Valentine Livestock is the first auction market in Nebraska to host the GMLAC, thanks in part to director/auctioneer and past winner Mike Nuss of Gering, Neb. The contest rotates among five states: Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Each contestant received six drafts of cows and feeders to auction in the first round. Each were introduced by 2012 winner, Brandon Neely of Southside, Ala. Assisting and introducing each consignment was former world champion, GMLAC winner, and Valentine Livestock’s regular auctioneer was Mike Baxter, Ainsworth, Neb.

The top ten finalists were: Jay Romine, Washington Kent. (Blue Grass Stockyard); Jared Miller, Leon, Iowa (Lamoni Livestock Market); Rusty Taylor, White City, Kansas (Farmers & Ranchers Livestock); Kevin Schow, Paxton, Neb., (Ogallala Livestock); Jeremy Anstine, Holden, Mo., (Kingsville Livestock); Justin Abell, Sigourney, Iowa (Keoco Auction Co); Michael Imbrogno, Fresno, Calif. (Tulane Sales Yard); Brennin Jack, Weyburn, Saskatchewan (Assiniboia Livestock Auction); Doug Day, Loup City, Neb. (Loup City Comm Co), and Don Helburg, Gering, Neb., (Platte Valley Livestock Auction).

Several world champions were in attendance and helped finish the sale of feeders. They were 2012 world champion Bailey Ballou, Oklahoma- 2012 GMLAC champion Brandon Neely, Alabama, 2008 champion Matt Lowery, Burwell, Neb., 2009 GMLAC champion Mike Nuss, 2003 world champion John Schaben, Dunlap, Iowa, and 1997 GMLAC champion and 2013 judge Dan Clark, Winner, S.D.