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Strong finish for local auctioneers at international livestock championship

Westlock’s Brad Martens is runner-up at Sept. 8 championship hosted by VJV Auction Co.
Westlock’s Brad Martens of VJV Auction Co. Westlock Cattles Sales, left, is congratulated by Scott Anderson from Anderson Bred Heifers in Bowden, after he finished in second place at the 2023 No Borders Livestock Auctioneering Championship Sept. 8.

WESTLOCK — It was another strong finish for VJV Auction Co. Westlock Cattles Sales livestock auctioneer Brad Martens, who took second place in the No Borders Livestock Auctioneering Championship Sept. 8.       

The 47-year-old auctioneer was one of several well-known, local industry experts who competed in the one-day event, hosted by VJV Auction Co. Westlock Cattles Sales. VJV auctioneers Justin Pots finished sixth and Travis Sekura finished in 11th place while Garth Rogers, who works with North Central Livestock Exchange near Clyde, finished just behind Martens in third place.  

“It’s a good feeling,” said Martens, noting Dean Edge from Rimbey who won the championship is a good friend. “He’s a past Canadian champion, he’s a past international champion and he came in second this year in the world (championships) in the U.S. Dean is a very accomplished auctioneer and it’s always good to come in second behind him.”  

Martens began auctioneering at just 19 years of age and is no stranger to success in the industry, winning a Canadian title with the Livestock Markets of Canada championships last year.  

“I’ve been raised in this. My dad’s an auctioneer and I’ve been coming here (to VJV) regularly for three and a half years,” he said, noting his full-time job with Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers in Nisku, specializes in heavy equipment auctions, including farm equipment.  

While it was his second time competing in the No Borders Livestock Auctioneering Championship — the first came two years ago in Innisfail where he finished in third place — Martens said he works hard to calm the nerves and focus on the task at hand.  

“I don’t think it ever comes easy, you always have butterflies. This is my local market so maybe there was a little more pressure because you want to perform to your best abilities,” said Martens. “There are so many good auctioneers … and with the quality of these other guys, anybody could have been in the top five. You have to come and you have to give it 150 per cent.” 

The annual event alternates between locations south the border and in Canada. The first was held in Innisfail while last year’s was held in Florida and this is the first time Westlock has hosted the championship event. This year, a total of 13 auctioneers from across Canada, including several from central and southern Alberta, competed as conflicts with schedules prevented competitors from the U.S. from attending the event.  

Participants were judged on several things, noted Martens, including clarity, rhythm, how auctioneers represented the cattle and how they sell.   

“One of the criteria for the judges was would you hire this person to come and work for you so there’s a lot of things that they were looking at,” he said.  

With a family history and close to 30 years in the industry, livestock auctioneering is not just a way of life for Martens but a legacy he wants to continue.  

“It’s where I started. My dad sold livestock so when I got out of auction school and I went to work for him that’s the first thing I started doing was selling livestock and cattle,” said Martens. “It runs in the blood and even though I love selling heavy equipment, I absolutely love selling livestock.”

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Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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