Qualified For Nationals, Repeat Regional Champion Qualified For Nationals, Repeat Regional Champion Livestock Auctioneer Works For Sellers And Buyers
By Frank J. Buchman
“Respect and taking care of people are requirements for the best auctioneers.”
That’s not the first description most would give of a top auctioneer. Yet considering every aspect of the profession, it is most important, according to one of the best in the business.
Even a very emotional characteristic of being a livestock auctioneer for Lynn Langvardt, Chapman, Kansas.
Working three major livestock auctions every week, Col. Lynn Langvardt proves his skills in action.
Claiming the eastern region Livestock Marketing Association auctioneer championship verifies those elite abilities.
“It is what it is,” insisted the lifetime auctioneer.
Behind the auction microphone since he was seven years old, Lynn Langvardt followed family tradition. “My dad Howard Langvardt was a champion auctioneer and my hero. I’m following in his footsteps,” Lynn said.
The family has owned and operated JC Livestock Sales at Junction City more than 55 years.
“My grandpa Vern and my dad with my grandma and mom started the business,” Lynn said. “Now with our mom Ann, my brothers Karl and Mitch with our wives and families are continuing the operation. We all work very closely together”
“I started selling baby calves, then dad let me sell cows, and before long stocker and feeder cattle. My dad was the very best auctioneer,” Lynn interrupted his own quite emotional conversation.
His success is credited to the School of Hard Knocks. “I didn’t attend a professional auction school but sold livestock from the auction block.”
Today, the Langvardt family also owns and operates Clay Center Livestock Sales. “I sell at Clay Center Tuesday, Junction City Wednesday, and also serve as auctioneer at Pratt Thursdays,” Lynn said.
On top of selling thousands of cattle those three days, Lynn auctions special sales for the three barns. He’ll occasionally conducts farm auctions and assists other auctioneers with sales when they call upon him.
“It’s a pretty busy schedule, but the most important part of all is my family,” Lynn insisted. “My wife Keisha and our four children are what makes it all worthwhile.”
Their children include Weston, 17; Reece, 15; Nolan, nine; and Ryle, five. “They are all closely involved in the auction barn operations,” Lynn credited. “Plus, Keisha is a fulltime nurse, and the kids are heavily involved in so many school, athletic and 4-H activities.”
On top of that, Lynn has personal and family cattle operations. Horses have always been a part of the Langvardt family, too.
“I grew up participating in horse shows,” Lynn said. ‘’Now my wife and children have continued to be involved with horses at various levels.”
Playing football on scholarship at Emporia’s Kansas State Teachers College where he graduated, Lynn has won several team roping saddles.
“I’ve been fortunate to previously win both the western and midwestern regions,” Lynn said. “I didn’t even realize I’d won all three regional championships in my career until somebody pointed it out to me.”
The eastern competition was at Jackson County Regional Livestock Market, LLC, Ripley, West Virginia, with 27 contestants.
Lynn is qualified for the Livestock Marketing Association’s 2023 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship at Arcadia Stockyards in Arcadia, Florida, June 7-10.
A live cattle sale took place, with the market’s regular buyers and sellers in the seats. Auctioneer contestants were evaluated on clarity, quality of chant, presentation, and bid catching. Additionally, they were critiqued on how the sale was conducted and likelihood judges would be to hire them as an auctioneer.
Judges for the qualifying event were livestock market owners, managers, dealers, and allied industry members from across the nation.
“These contests are loaded from top to bottom. Any time you have some kind of success makes you feel really, really good,” Lynn said.
“Most important of it all is that my dad was also a regional champion. That makes my wins even closer to my heart,” Lynn sentimentally commented.
Adding significance to the eastern regional event, cattle from that livestock pavilion are sometimes shipped to sell at Junction City. “They don’t have a demand for certain types of cattle that we have a good market for here,” Lynn noted.
This year will be his ninth time in the world championship competition. Rookie award winner at his first world competition, Lynn has also been in the top ten and a finalist. “I’m still working for that world title, but it’s a new contest every year,” he said.
Besides the special recognition, being the world champion requires a major commitment for the winner. The champion represents the Livestock Marketing Association auctioneering at special sales for a number of auction barns across the country.
In his livestock auctioneering career Lynn has seen lots of transitions. “The biggest change is use of computers and the internet,” he said. “Everything used to be done by hand bookkeeping. Now computer programs total prices and averages to make information more available for sellers and buyers.
“Dad was against use of the internet for auctions. But when the coronavirus hit the internet became a necessity for our livestock auctions,” Lynn said. “Now people throughout the country can watch our sales and bid on livestock making a big difference in selling prices.”
Consignments for upcoming sales and results from previous auctions are also advertised on the computer.
Increasingly auctions are being conducted without even the auction chant. “Auctions are strictly handled through the internet for everything from livestock to land to personal property,” Lynn continued. “To me, the live auction people bidding against one another is still the best way to merchandize property whatever it is. There’s that personal aspect that most people appreciate.
“I’m sure there will continue to be changes in livestock marketing and the auction business,” Lynn predicted. “Initially people will not like them, but some will be for the better and others probably not.”
While Lynn being an auctioneer follows in his dad’s bootsteps, whether the tradition will continue is yet to be determined. “Both of my older sons have shown some interest and even sold a few cattle from the auction block,” Lynn said. “They’re both still young now with a lot of different interests. They do like the livestock business and who knows they might become auctioneers too.”
Auctioneers are much more than fast talking salesmen. “Of course, it’s important to know livestock, their weight, quality, condition, and daily changes in markets,” Lynn said.
“You have to take care of both the seller and the buyer, the in-between man understanding both sides,” he emphasized.
“Those small operators with just a few head to sell are just as important as the large operations,” Lynn said. “We try to take care of everybody just like we would expect to be treated.”
Lynn Langvardt, Chapman, has qualified for the Livestock Marketing Association’s World Livestock Auctioneer Championship competition next June in Florida. He was the eastern regional livestock auctioneer champion at recent competition in Ripley, West Virginia.