Top auctioneer Trent Stewart owns Central Oregon Livestock Auction
Auctioneer Trent Stewart
Auctioneer Trent Stewart
is a smooth talker.
speaks, people listen, especially when he
has a microphone in front of him.
The 37-year-old is well known in the Northwest for his
ability to speak quickly with clarity and knowledge of product as an auctioneer.
Stewart is not an average auctioneer.
so good that he
was crowned World Livestock Auctioneering Champion in 2007, and in 2005, he
became the International Livestock Auctioneer Champion, a competition in Canada.
"If you love something, you will be good at it," Stewart
always felt that if you want to be the best at something, you have to compete against the best at the highest level.
That being said, if you are the best, you will always have a job.
I'm not saying I am the very best, but once that stuck in my mind, it inspired me to try and be the best, so I'd always have a job."
In competitions, auctioneers conduct a live auction, and judges look for fast, clear diction with a touch of style and salesmanship.
Auctioneers can only win a world title one time, an achievement that took Stewart
eight years to accomplish.
"It was a great honor winning those contests," said Stewart
, who placed second in 2002 and 2006.
"I had a tremendous amount of respect for the guys I was competing against."
To win the world title, Stewart won a regional title in Texas, and then beat out 30 other contestants at the world finale held in Springfield, Mo.
Each contestant endured an interview and a full day of selling cattle to real buyers.
Judges then narrowed the field from 31 to 10 finalists, before naming Stewart champion.
won $5,000, a new Chevrolet truck for one year and a champion's sculpture, along with other prizes.
"It was one of those deals when I finally won, it was kind of anticlimactic," Stewart
"It was really cool once I won because it was one of my goals, but when I looked around and had so much respect for everyone else there, it didn't really make me feel any different.
It made me feel like I was doing my job.
It was just more of an accomplishment of a goal that I had set, and it was good for business."
For nearly 20 years, Stewart
has placed himself in front of microphones and audiences, conducting roughly 100 auctions per year.
experience of articulating bid chants, a rhythmic repetition of numbers and filler words spoken by an auctioneer, coupled with his
lifelong history in the cattle industry, is what sets him apart.
"You really have to know the business," Stewart
"It's more of a game of product knowledge.
In auctioneering, 60 percent is being a salesman and 40 percent is your bid chant."
Like many top auctioneers, Stewart
speaks quickly, and uses a smooth, monotone tempo and passion for the sale.
lips are moving so fast, that if you're not familiar with auctions, you might not understand what he's
"It's really actually a redundant set of numbers that you're saying over and over again," Stewart
"It's really how you say them.
You're not spitting them out any faster than anyone else, but you're saying them over and over again in a fashion that sounds fast, but is very effective."
While it may be a redundant set of numbers flowing effectively from his
is a businessman.
has full control of a room with potential buyers, and he
knows exactly what to say with his
bid chant and when to say it, in order to sell cattle.
"You have to know what you are selling and who you are selling it to," Stewart
"You develop a relationship with your buyers and you have to learn how to recognize a potential bidder out there.
A lot of times, I can actually recognize who will bid before they actually do it because there is a lot of body language involved."
Stewart's voice is memorable, distinct and Western.
not only speaks amazingly well with words, but he
hands to signal to buyers in the audience.
Often, a buyer will signal a bid with a small hand gesture, tip of the cap or head nod.
"We have professional buyers in the room that attend these auctions nearly every day of the week, so we want to create a pleasant experience for them with an auctioneer that understands the product," Stewart
"We want them to be settled, so they can do an effective job.
There are a lot of signals back and forth to communicate using body language, so you need pretty good peripheral vision to scan a room."
While it may be complicated enough to produce rapid flowing bid chants as the auctioneer, Stewart
said it's a like a competitive baseball game filled with strategy in any auction room to determine a final price.
Buyers are working against one another and the auctioneer is working to attain a price as well.
"Buyers are very competitive," Stewart
"They work against one another to buy the very best product at the lowest price they can get, and it's my job as an auctioneer to sell them the very best product as high as I can."
City to the country
was raised primarily in the West hills of Portland, not exactly a birthing place for want-to-be auctioneers, but he
had family in Eastern Oregon and Idaho involved with cattle ranches.
worked around cattle in the summers and developed a passion for the cattle industry.
Stewart began auctioneering for Central Oregon Livestock Auction shortly after attending the Missouri Auction School in the spring of 1994.
"I worked for Clay Tanler
at the auction yard," said Stewart
, who moved to Central Oregon in 1993.
"I cleaned pens, helped in the yards and auctioned when I could for swine, sheep and small animals."
Stewart eventually quit at Central Oregon Livestock Auction and worked in La Grande for Intermountain Livestock Inc., as an auctioneer and field man for almost two years, prior to attending the World Champion College of Auctioneering in Bakersfield, Calif., in 1998.
"I guess I was a slow learner," Stewart
said with a laugh at why he
went to another auctioneering school.
At the conclusion of Stewart
's schooling in Bakersfield, he
met with Tanler, and they decided to become partners in 2000 with Stewart buying into Central Oregon Livestock Auction
had people help me along the way," said Stewart
of being able to buy into a business at the age of 26.
been blessed with resources and good people around me to help me get to where I am today."
Stewart partnered with Tanler for 10 years, before he become the sole owner of Central Oregon Livestock Auction in 2010.
"For me, the cattle business is one of the industries this nation was founded on," Stewart
"I have a great deal of respect for the men that were tough enough over the years to create the livestock business we have today."
Over the course of a year, Stewart
crew will handle 45,000-50,000 head of cattle at Central Oregon Livestock Auction
With cattle prices high, business has been abundant for Stewart
"It's the people and relationships that I've
said of why he
"We stay pretty busy," Stewart
"Cattle are wonderful stewards of the land and if managed effectively, can be beneficial.
We see a lot of ranchers and buyers on Mondays and it's a lot of fun to develop those relationships."
is a busy man.
could spend one day soliciting business at cattle ranches in the Northwest, and the next he
might get on an airplane to Colorado for a bull sale.
"I sell a lot of pure-bred bull sales," Stewart
"I spend my spring months doing bull sales and in the summer months I work for Superior Livestock
Superior Livestock Auction is an auction via Internet and satellite feeds where buyers can purchase cattle from their living room if they want.
Stewart is an auctioneer and a representative for Superior Livestock Auction.
"It's the nation's largest livestock auction," Stewart
"My grandfather always wanted to be an auctioneer, so I guess he
put it in my mind at an early age," Stewart
said of why he
wanted to be an auctioneer.