How to become an auctioneer with Ryan Konynenbelt

We’ve all seen and heard auctioneers at work: they’re those fast-talkers who deal goods to the highest bidder. Just about anything can be auctioned off: from services, to art, to equipment, to – you guessed it – livestock.

You can see the top auctioneers at the International Livestock Auctioneer Championship Saturday, July 16 at 11:30 a.m. in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

But how does one get into auctioneering? For last year’s Calgary Stampede International Livestock Auctioneer Rookie of the Year Ryan Konynenbelt, he’s wanted to do it since he was a kid.

He was just 15 years old and doing a church fundraising sale when the Picture Butte Auction Mart, near his hometown of Nobleford, called and gave him a job selling chickens and rabbits on Saturdays. From there, it only grew. Konynenbelt was soon selling sheep, goats, horses, cattle, and doing the odd fundraiser while he was at it.

Konynenbelt isn’t quite the typical case of an auctioneer realized. Many of his peers have been in the business for 20, 30 years – longer than he’s been alive.

But when you’re good, you’re good. In 2015, with 18 years of age and with three years of experience under his belt, Konynenbelt placed third in the Stampede competition.

He’s back again this year – another year older, and another year wiser.


Auctioneering is much more than fast-talking: there’s a certain amount of pressure that comes with it, too. As Konynenbelt succinctly put it, “You’re selling livelihoods.”

“You wanna do the best you can,” he said. “You’re working for the producer. It’s not the easiest job in the world, but it’s worth doing.”

Because it’s such an important job, Konynenbelt has to be at the top of his game. He has to know exactly the value of what he’s selling in order to make sure he can get a fair price for it.

“Know your numbers inside and out. It’s gotta come naturally to you. You’re counting your way up,” Konynenbelt said. That, along with being as easy to understand as possible, is crucial to auctioneering.

Like every auctioneer, he has filler words to keep a rhythm going as he lists off numbers, which is where all that fast-talking comes in while he’s working to drive up the price. He starts off with a starting bid, and knowing the numbers, is able to get it up to what he wants.


Konynenbelt’s favourite part of auctioneering? Everything. He says the people in the industry, the atmosphere – all of it’s awesome, and he can sit there all day and just listen.

“The community is like a family,” he said. “You only see them a couple of times a year but you all have something in common.”

So, how does one get into auctioneering? Konynenbelt is self-taught. He’s been doing this from an early age, practicing as much as possible and working at a handful of auction marts. But even he went to school before nailing down jobs.

“Go to school,” is Konynenbelt’s advice to any aspiring auctioneers. “Visit auctions, and just practice. You can practice anywhere.”

At home, on the road, when you’re driving – anywhere is fair game to find your voice.

Calgary Stampede Livestock auctioneers to make Stavely debut

Livestock auctions aren’t new to Stavely, Alberta – but the Calgary Stampede’s International Livestock Auctioneer Championships are.

Before the top 10 finalists take over the Agrium Western Event Centre the morning of July 16, 23 auctioneers will compete at Foothills Auctioneers Inc. Among the contestants are auctioneers from Australia, South Africa and the competition’s first female entrant.


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Check out the Vintage Tractor Pull at this year’s Stampede!

Watch for the vintage tractors in the Stampede Parade on Friday, July 8. The good ol’ days will be brought back to life by past Stampede Vintage Tractor Show and Shine Champions Jeremy Moore, Neil Bertsch and Ken Wood!

For 26 years and running the Calgary Stampede Farm Equipment committee has been showcasing our agricultural heritage by curating a selection of restored vintage tractors and equipment from across Alberta and beyond.

Vintage tractor

The 26th annual Vintage Tractor Pull, once again presented by Cervus Equipment, takes place on Sunday, July 10 at 7 p.m. and Monday, July 11 at 5:30 p.m. These family- friendly events are free to attend and a must see at the Calgary Stampede. Enter the doors of the Scotiabank Saddledome and instantly be transported back in time to see a piece of agricultural history at work!

The Vintage Tractor Pull will feature 31 competitors, including past champions Ed Penner, Allen Hazenberg, Ken Wood, Jeremy Moore and Randy Niemans. Each competitor’s tractor is weighed and placed into one of six different weight classes – featherweight, followed by Class #1 through Class #5, beginning at 1,000 lbs up to 9,999 lbs. The longest total distance on two pulls determines the winner of each class.

As an added bonus between the 3rd and 4th Class, sit back and take in the Metal vs. Muscle showcase where vintage tractors will square off against a team of powerful Percheron heavy horses – this is the original horsepower vs. mechanical horsepower at its finest.

Vintage tractor_2

Also on Park, the Tractor Show & Shine runs Sunday, July 10 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday, July 11 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Country Trails between the Agriculture building and the Agrium Western Event Centre.

Vote for your favourite tractor on Twitter using the hashtag #vtpeopleschoice or this year vote by paper ballot!  The tractor that receives the most votes will win the People’s Choice award, which will be presented during the awards ceremony at the Monday, July 11 5:30 p.m. Vintage Tractor Pull in the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Don’t miss the Vintage Tractor Pull and Vintage Tractor Show & Shine at the 2016 Calgary Stampede. For reminders closer to the date, follow @stampedeag on Twitter, @stampede_ag on Instagram and like the Calgary Stampede Agriculture on Facebook.