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Alberta auctioneer wins international prize

Alberta auctioneer wins international prize

Ryan Konynenbelt defeated competitors from Canada, the U.S., South Africa and Australia

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A 21-year old cattle auctioneer from Nobleford, Alta. won an international auctioneering championship competition during the Calgary Stampede.

Ryan Konynenbelt, who sells livestock for the Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange, bested 35 other competitors from Canada, the United States, South Africa and Australia to become the youngest ever winner of the International Livestock Auctioneer Championship. He also won a cash prize of $10,000.

“It’s exciting to win a competition of that calibre,” he told today.

Konynenbelt grew up on a cattle farm, which afforded him the opportunity to attend livestock auctions.

He listened to the auctioneer carefully. The atmosphere surrounding the cattle sales sparked something in him.

“I loved listening to the auctioneer’s chant and the speed of it,” he said. “There’s a lot of energy in the room when there’s an auction sale going on and (auctioneering) became something I wanted to try.”

His first gig as an auctioneer was at a local church auction.

Word spread about his interest in becoming a full-time auctioneer, and Konynenbelt earned a job at the Picture Butte Auction Market selling chickens, rabbits and ducks.

By the time he was 16, Konynenbelt was facilitating several livestock auctions despite not being certified, which is a requirement in Alberta.

He honed his auctioneering skills while working on the home farm.

“I just always worked at it while I was driving or trucking silage,” he said. “I just always practiced running numbers and developing the breathing techniques. I would also watch different videos online and pick up different things from other auctioneers I would watch.”

Konynenbelt also shared a piece of advice for aspiring auctioneers.

Developing a working relationship with a local auction market is key, he said.

“You have to learn the business side of selling cattle,” he said. “Learn the value of cattle and the different conditions that can affect its quality. Helping to sort cattle can get your foot in the door and give you a foundation to begin with.”

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