KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Russele Sleep of Bedford, Iowa, was named the 2019 World Livestock Auctioneer Champion at the 56th annual competition held at Tulare Sales Yard, Tulare, Calif. and presented by the Livestock Marketing Association.

“It was a dream come true,” Sleep says in a news release from the group. “The auctioneer championship showcases the importance of the local livestock markets and the role the auctioneer plays in true-price discovery, and I’m looking forward to promoting that this year.”

The competition, held on June 8, is composed of two parts: an interview and a live auction. During the live sale, contestants sell eight drafts of cattle to bidders in the seats. Each contestant is scored by five judges on presentation, auction chant, execution of the sale and how likely the judge would be to hire the auctioneer. During the interview round, contestants are asked questions pertaining to the marketing industry and their role as an auctioneer.

Sleep, a nine-time top 10 qualifier of the WLAC and 2016 Reserve Champion Auctioneer, earned his spot to this year’s competition by winning the LMA’s Midwest Qualifying Event.

Chuck Bradley from Rockford, Ala., earned reserve champion honors, and Will Epperly from Dunlap, Iowa, was named runner-up champion.

Sleep, a Missouri Auction School graduate, works as a contract auctioneer for Knoxville Regional Livestock Market, Fort Scott Livestock Market, Inc., Southeast Kansas Stockyards LLC, Clarinda Livestock Auction, Inc., Russell Livestock Market and Green City Livestock Marketing LLC. He lives in Bedford, Iowa with his wife Lacey and three children.

As a part of the champion’s role, Sleep will spend the next year traveling the country to other livestock auction markets.