FOR the past 32 years, the state's best and brightest young auctioneers have added their names to the honour board as winners of the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association's Young Auctioneers Competition.
Many have gone on to make their mark on the stock and station game while others have ventured to areas of work beyond their wildest dreams.
As the next crop of auctioneers prepare to battle it out at Roma on July 26, the Queensland Country Life is taking a look back at some of the previous winners and where they are now.
By his own admission, Ben Dobbin had always wanted to be an auctioneer and his dream came true when he became the first Qld YAC winner of the new millennium while working for Primac Elders at Springsure.
Having started with the branch the previous year, industry legends such as John Barrett, Don Tucker and Andrew Scott took the aspiring auctioneer under their wings in order to help him reach his potential.
"It meant everything to me when I first started out," Mr Dobbin said.
"All I ever wanted to do was be a cattle auctioneer and it was so special to go onto the Ekka and win the YAC."
From that early success, Mr Dobbin continued to hone his craft, which lead to new opportunities away from the catwalk.
Transitioning from the voice of the saleyards to the voice of the airwaves, Mr Dobbin has created a legacy as a rugby league commentator for Triple M as well as the host of its Rural Queensland Today program.
"There's no way I'd be where I am today if I hadn't been an auctioneer," Mr Dobbin said.
"My advice to the young guys gearing up for this year's competition is that the result doesn't define you.
"The experience will only make you better, regardless of whether you win or lose."
It was a case of fourth-time lucky for Matthew Beard when he tasted success after moving from the Northern Territory to take up a posting with Landmark at Longreach.
Three unsuccessful tilts at YAC glory eventually paved the way for victory and has ultimately lead to a fulfilling career, which continues today with Nutrien at Emerald, where he has been based for the past 15 years.
"After four goes I was very eager to win it, so me for me, the overwhelming feeling was relief as much as it was excitement," Mr Beard said.
"It was a thrill to win and sell in front of a crowd at Brisbane, which was just a terrific experience."
Covering all aspects of the livestock industry, Mr Beard said his involvement in the competition had helped shape his career.
"The biggest thing the competition gave me was more self belief and confidence in my auctioneering abilities," he said.
"For a young person, to win those kinds of competitions gives you broader exposure to the rural community that you otherwise wouldn't get.
"My advice to the young guys giving it a go this year is just to relax, take your time and enjoy the experience, regardless of the result."
Over the deafening sounds of bawling cattle at a bumper weekly cattle sale in Roma, Geoff Maslen reflects fondly over his two YAC wins.
In the early days of his tenure with Grant, Daniel, Long at Roma, where he still operates today, Mr Maslen became the fourth auctioneer to claim back-to-back-titles after Jason Rose in 1994-95, Tim Turner in 1996-97 and Michael Smith in 1998-99.
However, Mr Maslen remains the last auctioneer to win two in a row, a mantle that brings him some satisfaction some 15 years later.
When asked what the competition had done for him, his answer was short but sweet, "everything".
"It was really the slingshot I needed for my career," Mr Maslen said.
"I think it really allowed me to actually consider myself as an auctioneer.
"Looking back I was probably more nervous going after the second one, so to be able to win two really is something I'm proud of."
From the outside, it would appear that not much has changed for the current Qld YAC champion Corey Evans.
He's still working for Aussie Land and Livestock in Kingaroy and constantly pushing for the best for his clients.
However, by his own admission winning the YAC was a "life changer" in that it opened up a variety of opportunities.
"Being part of the YAC was always something I wanted to do and it was a very rewarding experience," Mr Evans said.
"The year I won was my fourth year in the competition and the people I met over that journey were just fantastic. For me the biggest thing about that has helped me is the people I've met along the way and the coaching and mentors that ALPA set you up with."
Despite gearing up to hand over the mantle of Qld YAC champion, Mr Evans said his involvement with the competition was unforgettable.
"From other agents, previous YAC winners, buyers and people I met at the national YAC in Sydney, they all helped make it such a great experience," he said.
"It was a great opportunity and it's something I wouldn't have been able to do without ALPA and the YAC, so I'm very grateful."
As for what advice he would give to this year's competitors, Mr Evans said "keep it simple".
"The biggest thing I found in all of the competitions was being yourself got you a long way as well as not letting the occasion get to you too much," he said.
"The mentality I took into it was that it's what we do day in and day out, so focusing on that paid dividends for me."
The ALPA Qld YAC will be hosted at the Roma Saleyards followed by a cocktail function from 6pm at the Roma Explorers Inn.
The competition will be livestreamed via Queensland Country Life website.
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