Ty Cutler wins Rookie Buckle at Man-Sask auctioneering competition

April 1, 2024, 10:52 am
Kevin Weedmark

Ty Cutler with his father Ward Cutler at the Man-Sask Auctioneering Competition on March 22. Ty grew up watching his dad auctioneer, and won the Rookie Buckle at the competition.

Ty Cutler grew up watching his dad auctioneer, and must have learned well, as he took home the Rookie Buckle from the Man-Sask Auctioneering Competition in Virden March 22.

Ty’s dad, Ward Cutler, was emcee for the awards.

“It was emotional for both of us,” Ty says. “He’s up there and he explains what the Rookie Buckle is and he says, ‘Yeah I know the champion this year,’ and all of a sudden I could tell that he’s fighting back the tears.

“I didn’t think that I was going to win so I wasn’t really paying attention and then all of sudden he says, ‘The guy from Moosomin, Saskatchewan.’

“Then he said my name and he was trying not to cry. So I went up there and I’m not really a guy to cry much but when I saw him tearing up, then I damn near did too. I had a tough time making my speech just because I was so shocked and then seeing how happy he was. It made me pretty happy too.”

Ty says he grew up watching his dad auctioneer.

“I grew up going with my dad to sales all the time, so whenever I was with him I’d beg him not to take me to daycare, and if the sales weren’t going to be too big or too long, then he’d let me come with him. So I’d sit up there with him and put my cowboy hat on. I kind of wanted to do it when I was a kid and then I got busy working and never really thought about it for a while.

“Then last February I was at the Wapella Wildlife Supper and Hugh Garrett asked me if I would give him a hand selling. I had never done it before but I was like, ‘I could probably help,’ so I went up there and made out okay for never doing it. Then all of a sudden people just kept asking me to do these little fundraisers and all of sudden there’s this competition coming up and a guy by the name of Rick Wright convinced me to enter, but I had never sold cattle. So I talked to Gene and Rhett Parks at Whitewood Livestock and they let me come and sell a few there. Then I went to that competition and I’ve been doing it since, just as much as I can.”

Ty started selling cattle at Whitewood Livestock in February of last year, and went to his first competition in April. He then went to Auctioneer School in June.

He said he enjoys all the events he auctioneers at.

“I sell cattle in Whitewood, so the guys’ feeder cattle and the calves that they raise. They bring them in and I sell them or sometimes they have bred cow sales and I sell the bred cows. Other than that I do wildlife suppers and all sorts of different fundraisers—I’ve got a ladies’ night coming up. The fundraisers are pretty fun usually and always a good time. Hopefully I can start doing some purebred cattle sales because they’re a little bit bigger deal, the cattle go for higher prices.”

He said auctioneering is a lot of fun.

“The fun part is I like selling things and making people happy, like the owners if it’s a cattle sale, or the group if it’s a fundraiser. There’s not much better than when someone comes up to you and says, ‘Thanks for doing such a great job.’ When you’re selling cattle that’s someone’s life. They worked all year to get those cattle as good as they were and so that’s a big day for them. If you don’t market the cow good enough or if you don’t care, then you’re not going to make them very happy and that’s the point of your job, to sell what you’re selling for the highest you can get.

“I just like the idea of it and the competitions are fun. The cattle industry is a great industry.

“Sometimes it’s just tough learning how to do it. There’s good and bad days, and it’s tough say, when you don’t have a lot of bidders. But I don’t have too many things that I don’t like about it.”

What it takes
Ty says there is a lot to being a good auctioneer.

“You have to be good at talking into a microphone, obviously, and the more confident you are, the better. There’s the chant as they call it. That’s like your numbers and your filler words mixed all together. You want to be as clear as possible because if people can’t understand you—if you’re at $200 and people think you’re saying $50, well that isn’t any good.

“So clarity is a big thing and then you have to be a good bid catcher, so you have to look around and make sure that you don’t miss anybody.”

Ty says he throws in a bit of humor at some of the fundraisers.

“At the fundraisers, everyone is there to have fun and it’s not as serious, so I use a bit of humor. Obviously it’s serious for me to raise money but I want everybody to have a good time and I like having fun. If I’m at one of those I kind of change the way I sell—the way I sell at Whitewood is going to be different from the way I sell at a fundraiser because I’ll crack some jokes and bug people I know and that kind of thing.

“I think when everyone is having a drink and having a good time, if you make jokes, it kind of loosens everyone up more and makes them want to pay attention.

“That’s another big thing I think, you have to draw people in. You want to make sure that everybody is paying attention and you have to communicate with them and make them laugh, especially at a fundraiser, you’re going to have more bidders because people are having a good time and they want to be involved.”

Competitions are a highlight
Ty says he loves the auctioneering competitions.

“The competitions are really fun and I love going to them because they treat you kind of like you’re a rock star. The one that I was just at, that’s the Man-Sask and it’s just Manitoba and Saskatchewan people. It’s really good, I really like it and it’s a fun warm up.

“Then there’s the Canadian one in May and it’s a little bit bigger, it’s a couple-day deal. You have to do a video interview to introduce yourself and then they have a big competition with up to 35 guys. Afterwards you’ve got banquet suppers and you go on tours and things like that.

“So those are really fun but one thing is that they’re a little stressful. It’s nice once you’re done because it’s a lot more pressure when you’ve got six judges watching you and you’ve got all your buddies and other great auctioneers there watching you. So it’s pretty stressful but those are probably the funnest things I’ve gone to.

“At the Man-Sask competition you’re selling cattle but then at the end they do kind of a little fundraiser and everybody gets a black box item its called. A company donates the items—so let’s say that the Spectator got a Yeti cooler and donated it. So you kind of have job and you’re supposed to know a bit about it, so I’d look it up and see what the Spectator does and maybe phone you and ask if there’s anything you wanted me to say. Then you get up there and do that and say thanks to the World-Spectator for donating this cooler, they’re the local newspaper in town etc. So they draw your name for that and you’ve got that assigned too so you have to do a little bit of homework at night.

“Then all of the guys go and they sell maybe seven or eight drafts of cattle—and you give an opening speech before you start because you’re judged on a lot of stuff, not just how you sound but obviously that’s a big part of it. You’re judged on how you sound, you’re also judged on the kind of marker you are, and are you trying hard for the producer to sell their cattle and are you communicating with the people?

“So you do the opening speech and you want to thank the people that have helped you, your sponsors and everyone putting the event on, then you sell your seven or eight drafts of cattle and once you’re done that then you do your black box item.

“At this deal they brought seven or eight guys back for a second go around­—the top seven—and I was lucky enough to make that. I drew number one in the top seven so I went and in the second round I did pretty good but I don’t think I did as good as the first round. I was just trying a little too hard maybe but I still did pretty good.”

Winning the Rookie Buckle and heading to national competition
Ty did well enough to win the Rookie Buckle.

“If you’ve been selling cattle for under five years you’re considered a rookie, so it’s not just necessarily young guys. It could be a 50-year-old man that just started,” he says. “There were six rookies there and I was lucky enough to be the top one. There were some pretty good rookies too. Some of the guys would’ve been in their fifth year, so it’s their last year as a rookie.

He will be going to the national competition in Ontario in May. “That’s going to be a big one and I’m pretty excited. That one will be a little tougher because it’s all of Canada, so there will be a lot of good guys there. It should be fun,” says Ty.

He is hoping to make a career out of auctioneering.

“I work at Prairie Livestock and every Tuesday or Saturday I go to Whitewood and sell cattle. Gene Parks sells about half the cattle and I’ll sell the other half. I’ll see where it goes. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it full time or not but it’s quite possible and I don’t know if I’ll choose to do it full time because I might want to do something else too. But I think I’ll always keep doing it, for sure, one way or another.”

What does he like about auctioneering?

“I kind of always thought auctioneers were cool. I go to a sale and still to this day when I hear a good auctioneer and I’m at a bull sale or a car sale, whatever it is, if they’re good, I get chills. I just love hearing it. I just think it’s kind of cool. You’re running the show when you’re the auctioneer and it’s a lot of fun. When you’re good at it and you have a good day, it feels really good.”

Reaching a goal
Winning the Rookie Buckle was a goal for Ty.

“It was a big goal of mine. I was pretty honored and it’s the Bob Wright Memorial. Rick Wright, he’s a big deal with MLMA and Bob was his father. I didn’t meet him, he passed before I ever got to know him but he was an auctioneer and he was always helping young guys out, so that’s why they decided to do this in his name because he always liked to see the new guys coming up. So it’s an honour, really, to have it.

“I have a little note at home where I practice and I taped it to the wall with my goals and that Rookie Buckle was the first goal I wrote down last year when I started.

“There’s a rookie award for the next competition at the LMAC, so that will be my next big goal. My next goal after that would probably to win this whole competition, the Man-Sask. That’s my next two goals, and then I’ll just try to keep improving.”