World class auctioneer will bring bucks for youngsters NWSS

Author: Kristy

John Korrey is a world champion livestock auctioneer.

By Tom McGhee
The Denver Post

Posted:   01/07/2016

John Korrey keeps up a steady patter as the bids roll in, and millions of dollars can change hands when he delivers his chant at livestock and other auctions.

Korrey, a world champion livestock auctioneer, will be behind the block at the National Western Stock Show’s Auction of Junior Livestock Champions on Jan. 22.

Winning bids at the annual auction have climbed as high as $132,500, for a grand champion market steer, and 90 percent of the proceeds of each sale go directly to the youngsters who raise the animals.

The other 10 percent is donated to support the National Western Scholarship Trust and dispersed to young people for their educations.

Last year, the event brought in $752,000.

“The buyers buy because they want to help — that makes it pretty unique. We are going to get you as much as we can,” said Korrey, 63.

Thousands of animals are entered in livestock shows at the National Western each year. They are raised by junior exhibitors ages 9-18 and who are members of 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

Animals sold at the auction are those that judges decide are the best in their class. Only about 95 of the exhibitors qualify to sell their animals at the auction.

A member of 4-H and FFA, she raised and sold livestock, participating in the stock show every year. The experience gained by youngsters who take part in the show is priceless, she said.

“It made you take ownership in your project. You had to get up in the morning. You had to feed those animals, take care of them, watch a budget,” said Dorsey, 48.”It gave me a lot of responsibility, the ability to travel all over the U.S. to meet other people and go to other shows.”

Korrey shares a similar background with the youngsters who bring their steers, lambs, hogs and goats to the National Western.

He lives on the same Iliff farm and ranch on which he was born.

“My father was a farmer, and we would go to the livestock market to sell. My interest was in the auctioneer. We would go four or five times a week. I skipped a lot of school,” he said.

Many of his fellow students would imitate the chants of the auctioneers they heard.

But Korrey went farther. He was mesmerized by the singsong chants and rising bids. He listened closely and spent his free time practicing.

After graduating from high school, he attended an auctioneer school, Worldwide College of Auctioneering.

The school teaches rhythm, vocal clarity and pronunciation, breathing, salesmanship, effective communication techniques, and other things, according to its website.

“Once I learned to breathe properly, it became easy. You can’t sell when you are out of breath.”

It took a lot more study and practice to make him a world-class auctioneer, he said. He would compete in contests, and at every competition he would learn something from other auctioneers.

It took time to put together his own style, a mesmerizing chant that rises and falls like the buzz of a bumblebee.

It sounds fast, but he says speed isn’t as important as the ability to speak clearly and understandably. “Speed kills. If you can’t communicate, you can’t be a good auctioneer,” he said. “You have got to treat the buyer and seller equally as fair, you have got to know the market, and you have got to be entertaining.”

The auctioneer wants to stir a sense of urgency in the buyers, he said, convincing them that they must bid quickly or miss an opportunity to buy.

Korrey uses his mix of sing-song and monotone to sell heavy equipment for Ritchie Brothers Auctions in Longmont. He does real estate auctions as well.

Heavy equipment is more lucrative than livestock, he said. A recent sale in Fort Worth, Texas, where he was an auctioneer brought in $50 million, 40 percent of the sales coming over the Internet during the auction in real time.

But livestock sales, his first love, remain his passion.

He has volunteered his time at the junior auction for the past 13 years, viewing it as a chance to give something back for the opportunities he has been given in his life, he said.

He said: “Somebody helped me when I was growing up.”


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