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Agricultural News

Champion Auctioneer Takes Roundabout Journey to Get to the Top

Fri, 21 Jun 2013 12:51:20 CDT

Champion Auctioneer Takes Roundabout Journey to Get to the Top
Dustin Focht, this year's winner of the Livestock Marketing Association's World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, hails from Stillwater and has taken a roundabout way of getting back home an into an occupation that he loves. He recently spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays about his journey. (Click on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story to hear their full conversation.)

Focht said he was first introduced to the auction business by his grandfather, but that introduction would be fleeting.

"My grandfather was an auctioneer most of his adult life and was really successful at selling livestock and real estate and had a great farm sale auction company, however later in his life he had gotten ill when I was just a youngster and started to really retire out of the business."

Focht went on to college at OSU and then took an advertising job in Chicago. He said it took him seven years of living in that highly-urbanized environment to learn that he wanted to get back home to Oklahoma.

"It's one of those things you just wake up one morning and realize there may be another opportunity at home that I hadn't really thought much about."

Focht said he called a friend he'd made in college who was an auctioneer at the Oklahoma City Stockyards and his friend said he wanted to introduce Focht to someone who might be able to help him become an auctioneer.

"Ron, I guess the rest is history. That gentleman's name is Greg Griffith who I consider is the reason for me being here and the reason, obviously, for me talking with you. He is one of my best friends in the world and an incredibly awesome mentor for what we do."

Griffith introduced Focht to Ralph Wade. "I consider Greg and Ralph the best auctioneers in the world and those two committed themselves to teaching me and allowing me an opportunity that I am greatly indebted."

Focht said under Wade's tutelage, he developed rather quickly. Wade totally immersed him in his methodology and had him selling at a live auction in less than a week. Focht said the experience stretched him and motivated him to glean everything he could from their knowledge and expertise.

"And I soaked it up. Over the course of the last 13 and a half, almost 14, years your chant and, obviously, your voice gets stronger. You obviously learn more about the industry. Your knowledge as far as value and kind and condition of the product that you're selling, you start to ascertain a little better understanding of the job and the task at hand. With that, Ron, obviously, you become comfortable and you're really able to study your craft. With that relaxation you become a more well-rounded auctioneer. And with that you, obviously, hope for success."

Focht says patience, preparation and the experience of 11 previous WLAC contests gave him the confidence and ability to win this year's contest. Focht, who also won for high score in the interview contest, says during the contest he worked on relaxing, being professional and doing the best auctioneering job he could with the tough competition he faced.

"I had been, as you had mentioned, very close the last three years and knew if I dedicated myself, if I continued to work, if I continued to pray and trust God that, obviously, He had a plan for me and I didn't want to get ahead of myself and I knew in His time it would all work out. And I'm just so thankful everything worked out the way it did."

As an ambassador for the Livestock Marketing Association this year, Focht says he hopes to be able to educate more people on just how vital a role local livestock marketing plays in the beef industry.


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