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Hilmar man known for speaking at lightning speed

POSTED October 9, 2009 11:05 p.m.
After placing nine times in the same competition, auctioneer Chuck Cozzitorto  plans to keep on going until his dream of becoming the best auctioneer in the world comes true.  
The Hilmar man said he has been raised around the agriculture way of life, constantly being surrounded by the herds of cattle being auctioned off to different buyers so it was only natural for him to continue along that pathway.  
“I have been around it all my life,” he said. “I know nothing else.”  
Cozzitorto’s family has owned the Turlock Livestock Auction Yard since 1975 and that’s how his life in auctioning started. His father started auctioning when he was a little boy and ever since then his dream was to be the best auctioneer in the world.  
“I am going to keep doing it until I win,” he said. “I get discouraged at times, but then I get the fever and I just go with it.”  
Every year, the Livestock Marketing Association hosts the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship to bring fast-talkers from all over the world to compete for the title of best auctioneer in the world. Cozzitorto has placed in the competition for the past nine years and continues to get better.
This year, he came in 8th place out of 28 people for the Western Region in the quarterfinal to qualify for the 2010 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship. Overall, there are four regions that compete separately and then compete together for the finals.  
He is moving on to Oklahoma City in June 2010 to face the other competitors and, hopefully, win the title he has been dreaming about. If he doesn’t win the best auctioneer in the world, he is willing to settle for being in the top 10, he said.  
During the competition, each auctioneer is judged by five different judges, Cozzitorto said. The judges look at the clarity of the voice of the auctioneer, how well the auctioneer catches bids and how well the auctioneer keeps the audience interested. The last thing they judge on is if the judges themselves would hire this auctioneer.  
To be a good auctioneer, Cozzitorto said he thinks the auctioneer should be knowledgeable in the industry to get the most money for the seller. His background in the livestock business is a big help.
Cozzitorto said he knows that when June rolls around he will be competing against some of the best auctioneers in the world and to help prepare he is going to practice, practice and practice. Currently he does about three sales a week, but he practices outside of the livestock yard as well.  
“I practice with doing actual sales, to driving down the road, to practicing in the shower,” he said.
Even though he has confidence when he is in the comfort of his own livestock yard or his shower, being in front of complete strangers in a new stockyard can be quite nerve-racking, Cozzitorto said.
When the competition is about to start, each contestant draws a number to chose the order they go in. After the order is chosen, the other contestants are put into an isolated room so they can’t hear the sale.  
The moment Cozzitorto’s name is called to step on the box, that is when his nerves kick in, he said. Most of the time it is a full house that he auctions to with not an empty chair in sight. Each contestant does 10 drafts of cattle.  
“The first two drafts can be a little hard to get some air because I am so nervous, but after those two I start to get comfortable and it’s easy from there on out.”  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015. 

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