Charly Cummings, a Yates Center, Kansas, native, has traveled the country calling bids on cattle, land and other items at auctions.
“I started helping my uncle Mike at a farm auction when I was a freshman in high school,” Cummings says. His uncle, Mike Audiss, was an auctioneer whom he helped on weekends. Originally, he held items for the crowd and caught bids but eventually they learned Cummings was better suited to calling bids behind the microphone.
At the age of 15, he attended the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. Afterward, he continued helping out with his uncle’s sales and practicing his bid calling.
“I always liked cattle,” Cummings says. His love for cattle influenced his decision to become involved in livestock sales. After high school, he began selling at the Eureka Livestock Auction in Eureka, Kansas. He went on to auctioneer at Fort Scott Livestock Market, Anderson County Sales, Mo-Kan Livestock Market, and SEK Livestock. After his uncle retired, he worked for Walter Auction Service on the weekends.
“I entered my first contest in 1997,” he says. “I was just out of high school.”
The competition was the Kansas Auctioneers Association Bid Calling Contest at the Kansas State Fair. He was one of the youngest individuals in the competition and placed fifth. After competing four more times, he was named the KAA Bid Calling Champion in 2009. Also that year, he was crowned the first KAA Livestock Auctioneering Champion. He entered the World Livestock Auctioneering contest in 2008. He was honored as Rookie of the Year and was named a top ten finalist in the competition. Cummings was named a top 10 finalist again in 2009 and was the WLAC reserve runner-up in 2010. In 2011, he was honored to be crowned the WLAC Champion.
During his year reign as champion, he acted as an ambassador for the Livestock Marketing Association and livestock markets and auctioneers. His goal was to educate people about the importance of selling at auction.
“Selling at auction is a true price discovery,” he says. “It brings momentum, enthusiasm and all the interested bidders to the table.”
He emphasized customers knowing they can trust him is a big part of his success.
“First impression is the best impression. Integrity is a vital part of being a trusted auctioneer," he adds.
His wife, Carrie, also said the championships and his reputation have added to his career.
“With an established reputation, people sit up and listen,” she explains. “They love to hear a good auctioneer.”
He’s now retired from auctioneering competitions but is still active in the livestock-auctioneering world.
“Once you have won the WLAC, you've reached the pinnacle,” he says. “You are placed in a group of auctioneers that is revered through-out the auctioneering world.” But by being a judge in some different contests, he says feels like he has been able to give back.
In 2012, he sold his share of SEK Livestock and went to work for Superior Livestock Auction, the nation’s largest livestock auction, as a representative for livestock buyers and sellers in the area. In 2013, he became a full-time auctioneer for Superior. He also enjoys videoing cattle for customers.
In addition to his commitment to Superior Livestock, he is an auctioneer and realtor at United Country Great Plains Real Estate, which operates out of Emporia, Kansas. He and Carrie, who is also a realtor with the company, practice in Yates Center where they focus on pasture and farmland auctions, as well as traditional listings. The couple said they chose United County because the nation’s leader in real estate and auction services.
They said they have seen a need for auctioneers and realtors in the area. They like to consult with and help the stewards of the land decide what is best for them, their families and their land.
In addition to the auctioneering and real estate business, the Cummings family has a herd of 500 Red Angus cows. They also balance the businesses as parents to son Cash, 10, and Cayten, 6. His parents, Rick and Deanna, and his brother, Caden, have a row-crop operation nearby which helps supply them with some feed.
He recently made a return to the World Wide College of Auctioneering but in a different role than he had at the age of 15.
“It was very rewarding to go back to the WWCA and instruct,” he says. “That was an awesome experience.”
He was honored once again when he was inducted into the World Wide College of Auctioneering Hall of Fame in March of this year. It was an honor he was humbled to receive.
He wants to use his role and influence to encourage young auctioneers in their careers as well as help others understand the importance of selling at auction and be an advocate for the profession.
“I would encourage young auctioneers to enter every contest they can,” he concludes. “It will open many doors.”