'I’ve kind of dedicated my life to it': Dillon-based cattle auctioneer wins state bid call title


Ted McDermott, Montana Standard

Feb 6, 2019


“Well, all right, let’s go to work,” said a voice over the public address system at Montana Livestock Auction in Ramsay on Tuesday morning.


That was the cue for buyers to take their seats in the sale barn’s plush theater seating, for the ringmen to start moving the first cattle up for auction toward the hay-covered ring, and for Steve Goedert to head back to his place behind a microphone, in the MLA’s plywood-floored booth.


After a slight delay caused by a cow who didn’t want to separate from a bull, Goedert launched right into his hyper-fast and, according to those who can decipher it, ultra-clear auctioneering, gesturing to bidders as he gradually raised the price of the cow roaming around the ring below him until he finally arrived at “Sold.”


Goedert can be found behind the MLA’s mic every week. And when he’s not there, he’s conducting auctions at Beaverhead Livestock Auction, announcing rodeos all over the West, or branding cattle on ranches throughout southwest Montana.


But in late January, Goedert was in a ballroom of the Red Lion hotel in Polson, collecting a trophy and buckle after winning the 2019 Montana State Bid-Call Championship. And he wasn’t the only southwestern Montanan who placed at the contest. Robert McDowell, who lives in Butte and works as a contract auctioneer, was Goedert’s first runner-up.


With the win in Polson, Goedert added to his trophy collection. Last year, Goedert was named Rookie of the Year at the Livestock Marketing Association’s World Livestock Auctioneer Championship, winning a buckle, a truck, cash and, “most crucial” of all, prestige, he said. And he will head back there in June, to take another stab at the title.


Despite the potential for prizes and recognition, Goedert spends most of his time in sale barns and has a resolutely practical view of his work: “It’s a pretty quick way to exchange commodities here.”


On Tuesday, there were only about a dozen potential buyers — plus one cattle dog — in the MLA’s seats and only about 107 head of cattle for sale. That’s a relatively light crowd compared to the peak season in the fall, when calves are being weaned and thousands of cattle can move through the sale barn’s gates in a day, Goedert said. But for a near-zero February morning when the roads are slick and calving is just getting going, the interest and the sale prices were strong.


That was good news for Ted Odle and Blake Nuffer, who have co-owned MLA for nearly a decade and who first met Goedert when he walked into the sale barn and asked for a shot...


more, including photos, video [0:53 min.]