When 24-year-old Ab Carroll speaks, people listen closely.
“I grew up in the livestock industry. I grew up going to auction sales all the time,” said Carroll.
“It just kind of grew on me.”
Today, Carroll is one of Canada’s youngest and most talented auctioneers. He trades millions of dollars in cattle, sheep, lamb, and goat every week at the Ontario Stockyards located in Cookstown, south of Barrie.
Speaking with such a fast and accurate tongue is an art that has been part of Canadian stockyards for hundreds of years.
Thanks to his need for speed, Carroll is hoping to conquer the world by qualifying for the 2020 world championship of auctioneering.
“The speed keeps the energy in the auction. (It) keeps things rocking and rolling and keeps everyone on the edge of their seats wanting to buy,” he said.
Carroll’s biggest fan is his girlfriend of three years, Ashley Ferraro, who works at the front desk at the stockyards.
“He’s phenomenal. He’s just naturally gifted at it,” she said.
Ferraro admitted that living with an auctioneer can be a little different, especially when going for a drive. There’s no signing along with the radio.
“If he’s driving in the car, he kind of zones out and he starts to count as he goes by… all the posts and that sort of thing,” she said.
Carroll, who looks after his voice by staying away from coffee, heads to a qualifying competition in South Dakota on Wednesday.
From there he’s hoping to qualify for the Worlds. If not, he’ll have time to sharpen his tongue and try again.
“If it doesn’t happen this year, that’s fine — I’ve got another 40 years to give it a try,” said Carroll.