Hughes represents SA at international auctioneer champs

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As part of his prize, the winner of the 2015 Toyota SA National Young Auctioneer competition, Gareth Hughes, currently working at Vleissentraal Ermelo, recently travelled to Canada where he represented South Africa in the Calgary Stampede International Livestock Auctioneer Championship. He was one of 23 participants from across the globe and the first South African auctioneer to compete in this competition.

 Gareth shared the following after his visit:

After arriving in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, I joined the other contestants and organisers at the Hotel Blackfoot. We had the opportunity to meet the other contestants and we did a draw to determine our selling order for the competition the next day. There were 23 contestants of different ages and experience levels from four different countries, America, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

I drew number ten on the selling order as well as a black box item. A black box item is a donated item to be sold by one of the contestants during the competition. After selling seven lots, I then had to sell the black box item, a wonderful wooden camping chair.

The first round of the competition took place at the Foothills auction barn in Stavely, Alberta, Canada. Stavely is about 100km south of Calgary. On arriving at the auction barn, it was about two hours before the competition was about to start. I went to view the cattle of top quality on sale, ranging from weaner calves, cows and bulls. Breeds off all kinds were on sale. To name a few, it included Herefords, Angus, Charolais and Simmentalers, as well as some cross-breds such as Black and Red Boldies, Tan Charolais and Simmentaler crosses (black and red).

 Competition time

A wonderful atmosphere filled the auction barn as the first contestants started to sell. The barn was packed with audience members, buyers, supporters and judges. As a contestant you do not know who the judges are, or where they are sitting, as they are spread among the audience during the competition.

Before entering the ring, the cattle are weighed on a scale at the entrance of the ring. The cattle are then auctioned off per pound in Canadian dollars by asking for the next bid. These are the two greatest differences between our local South African auction system and the system used in Canada and other countries abroad. We sell in rand per head while they sell in rand per kilogram.

Furthermore, we auction by stating the current bid, while they progress by asking for the next bid. Selling in the competition was a great experience, where I had to adapt to the way of asking for the next bid, the atmosphere and selling per pound and in dollars.

A taste of South Africa

Unfortunately, I did not make the top ten contestants who had to sell in the finals on Saturday, 16 July at the Calgary Stampede Showgrounds. I did, however, join the Top 10 on the rostrum as I was asked to sell two black box items after the Top 10 had competed. I did this in English as well as some Afrikaans to show the audience and other contestants what it sounds like back home in South Africa.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this championship. It was a big honour to represent South Africa and Vleissentraal Ermelo. I would like to thank Toyota South Africa and Veeplaas for creating a platform such as the Toyota SA National Young Auctioneer competition, which had allowed me this honour and does a great deal for the advancement of the industry.

See Hughes in action:

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