Cambridge auctioneer earns title of Kansas state livestock champion

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Justin Banzhaf of rural Cambridge, Nebraska, is the Kansas Auctioneers Association 2014 Kansas livestock auctioneer champion after a contest Nov. 13 in Osborne, Kansas. Justin said he appreciates the support of his friends and family (he's shown above, on the left, with is dad, Arlo Banzhaf of rural Cambridge); Mike Bailey of Jennings, Kansas; Osborne Livestock; and the KAA for the opportunity to compete. (KAA, Justin Banzhaf/Courtesy photo)

OSBORNE, Kansas -- A Cambridge, Nebraska, auctioneer is the Kansas Auctioneers Association 2014 Kansas livestock auctioneer champion.

Justin Banzhaf of rural Cambridge is sporting a new trophy belt buckle after winning the championship Nov. 13 in Osborne, Kansas.

Justin has sold at Tri State Livestock (the west sale barn) in McCook and North Platte Livestock in North Platte. He's hoping the championship opens up opportunities to sell at more livestock barns.

Justin said the competition went well in Osborne, where each contestant had to sell eight drafts of cattle. "It was just like working at your local barn, selling a consignor's cattle, except it was in front of a panel of three judges," he said, with a grin.

The judges were market operators, managers and livestock market auctioneers Gail Kats of Engle Wood, Colorado, Craig Heinen of Cawker City, Kansas, and Kent

Thompson of Iola, Kansas.

Justin said they evaluated each contestant's voice quality, clarity, rhythm, bid-catching ability, buyer/seller relations and chant. "Could he keep the auction flowing? ... on schedule?" Justin said. "They had to ask themselves, 'Would I hire this auctioneer?'"

Justin said each contestant also had to speak on the livestock industry and state of the market. "We have to know and understand the market," Justin said.

Justin said, "I feel fortunate to have been able to compete with auctioneers of the caliber of those at the contest."

All contestants are members of the KAA.

The emcee of the contest was Mike Bailey of Jennings, Kansas, the Kansas Auctioneers Association's champion auctioneer in 2013 and Livestock Marketing Association World Championship three-time qualifier. Helping Bailey was Charly Cummings of Yates City, Kansas, 2011 world livestock auctioneer of Champion.

Justin said he picked up his chant style from his auctioneer idol, Terry Elson, originally from Curtis and now in North Platte. "Terry was 22 years old when he won the auctioneering world championship in 1979. He's the youngest of all the champions," Justin said. "He's been my idol forever."

Justin has been around the livestock auction world all his life, having tagged along to sales with his dad, Arlo. Justin raises purebred black and red Angus cattle, as well as a few Herefords.

Justin is a 1985 graduate of Cambridge High School and a 1987 graduate of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, where he earned a degree in agricultural business. He graduated from auctioneering school in 2005.

The Kansas Auctioneers Association (KAA) is a trade association whose members have agreed to abide by it its constitution and strict code of ethics. The a association is dedicated to the promotion, advancement and protection of the auction profession.

Past winners of the KAA championship are Lynn Langvardt of Chapman, Brian Little of Coffeyville, Blaine Lotz of Edna and Bailey and Cummings.

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