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Let the slurring begin

Approximately 25 auctioneers from eight different states are competing for $1,500 today at Stockman's Livestock Exchange in Dickinson during the Greater Midwest Livestock Auctioneer Championships.

"We will have 3,500 cattle the contestants will sell during the day and be judged," said Larry Schnell of Stockman's Livestock Exchange. "They will be judged on their voice of course, their clarity, how well they can tell the value of the cattle they are selling and things like that."

Schnell said the contest hasn't been held in Dickinson within the last few years because it's a regional contest, comprised of five different states, and is held in a different state every year.

"The winner will win a buckle, a plaque, and $1,500," Schnell said. "Many of the champions of this contest go on to become world champions as well."

Locally, Scott Weishaar of Sentinel Butte will be participating in the event and said he has been auctioneering since 1992.

"I went to auctioneer school in the spring of 1992," Weishaar said. "We ranch, and I sell one sale barn full-time, we have a farm auction business and I sell bulls as well."

Weishaar said auctioneering school took two weeks to go through.

"Two weeks is kind of a crash course," Weishaar said. "They instruct you on your chant and your rhythm and your counting to make sure you can keep your numbers straight. It takes a lot of practice and you practice a lot of tongue twisters."

Weishaar said he was in the competition when it was last held in Dickinson, 10 years ago.

"Ten years ago I was extremely nervous," Weishaar said. "But now I guess the chips will fall were they will."

The competition begins today at 8:30 a.m. at Stockman's Livestock Exchange.