Liam shines on the big stage

Liam Kirkwood takes out National Young Auctioneers competition


Two years after winning the Queensland Young Auctioneers competition, the 24-year-old has taken out the national competition.

Liam Kirkwood of Ray White Livestock, Townsville, won the ALPA National Young Auctioneers Competition, with runner-up Sam Smith of Forbes. Picture: Lucy Kinbacher

Liam Kirkwood of Ray White Livestock, Townsville, won the ALPA National Young Auctioneers Competition, with runner-up Sam Smith of Forbes. Picture: Lucy Kinbacher

Liam Kirkwood has packed a lot into his relatively short agency career.

Not only has the 24-year-old built a name for himself in North Queensland, but he is fast gaining a national profile following a win at the ALPA National Young Auctioneers Competition last week.

The competition, held on the first day of the Sydney Royal Easter Show, saw Mr Kirkwood battle it out against 15 other industry up-and-comers in a 'thrilling' show of top-calibre performances.

Despite leaving the lights of Sydney behind and returning to the north on Monday, Mr Kirkwood said the win was still sinking in.

"It was a very humbling win," Mr Kirkwood said.

"I definitely didn't go into it thinking we were going to walk away with [the win], considering we had a full team of two years' worth of competitors.

"It was a very strong competition so to come away with the win out of the biggest competition they've ever had, was very humbling."

Winning the ALPA Queensland Young Auctioneers competition in 2019 put him on the road to the national stage in 2020, but the event's cancellation due to COVID-19 resulted in facing off against the larger field this year.

"I felt fairly good going into the competition knowing that I had that extra practice under my belt, considering we sell cattle every week," Mr Kirkwood said.

"There was an element of nerves but I try my best not to get nervous; I just treat it as another cattle sale.

"It doesn't matter whether you're selling goods and chattels at a clearing sale, nuts and bolts, or stud cattle, you always try and do your best because you're on display for everyone - your clients, the onlookers or judges as it was in the competition - so I just went into it with that attitude."

The disruptions of COVID-19 certainly weren't done wreaking havoc with the competitors, with Queensland's three-day lockdown last week making the journey to Sydney "a little bit tricky" as flights were shuffled around.

"It's hard to get a direct flight from Townsville to Sydney so we were booked to go via Brisbane but then they made that announcement a couple of days before we had to travel that Brisbane was going into lockdown," he said.

"That meant our connecting flight from Brisbane to Sydney... was cancelled so we had to go down to Sydney a day earlier, but we got there eventually and it was good to be there considering we couldn't go last year."

When asked about his success in recent years, Mr Kirkwood has often pointed to help from key mentors, but he's also "always been a big believer in 'you create your own luck'".

"If you're out there trying, luck will go with you eventually and it's an industry where you do have to earn your stripes," he said.

"You've got to prove yourself and doing things like this competition, you're practicing what you preach. Each day we're out there telling people what sort of results we can achieve for them or we think we can achieve for them, and how we'd go about doing that.

"To then go to competitions like this and put into practice what we preach to our clients every day, it reaffirms that for them."

As for what he'd say to other young people, within the industry or not: "watch and learn". "That's something I've done from a very early age - I've sat back and watched a lot of those people who are now my mentors."

Now that he's back in the north, it's "back into normal duties this week", with the title-holder resuming his usual spot on the catwalk at the Charters Towers sale on Wednesday.

"It probably won't be until all the interviews are over and I'm back on the road driving along by myself that it sinks in, so I'll enjoy the moment while it lasts," Mr Kirkwood said.

"But also be mindful of the fact that we've got a commitment to our clients, to keep servicing them and the show goes on."


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