THE path to success for the seven auctioneers who have won a national young auctioneers competition for Queensland differs as greatly as their stories after tasting the ultimate victory.
From a stud principal, to an online selling platform creator, to one of youngest agency directors in the country, the competition has helped each of them carve out a legendary career.
As the next chapter of the Queensland ALPA Young Auctioneers Competition final is preparing to be written at Roma next Tuesday, the Queensland Country Life took a look back at the seven auctioneers who found national glory for the sunshine state.
The first decade of the national competition was dominated by the southern states, until Mark Scholes broke through and delivered Queensland its first national title while he was based with Wesfarmers-Landmark at Roma.
A mixture of state pride, relief and excitement filled the room when Mr Scholes claimed the top honour, a feeling he has not forgotten for the two decades as he continued his stock agency career, now with Elders at Rockhampton.
"I think the biggest thing for me was being the first Queensland auctioneer to win it," Mr Scholes said.
"Looking back, it made me feel more comfortable and confident in my own abilities because it made me feel like I could do it at a high standard, regardless of the situation."
The national winner earned the chance to represent Australia at the international level at the Calgary Stampede in Canada.
"The highlight for me was being able to share the trip to Canada with my parents," Mr Scholes said.
"It was a real buzz to be able to represent Australia and to have them there too was really special."
As for what advice he would pass on to this year's competitors, Mr Scholes kept it simple: "be prepared".
"If you're as prepared as you can be, the rest can fall into place," he said.
In the early part of the new millennium, Queensland enjoyed a golden run of three wins in a row.
The second of those was Chris Norris, who claimed victory while working with Grant, Daniel and Long at Blackall.
Victory thrust the young auctioneer into the spotlight and led to a career auctioning cattle, horses and everything in between.
However, it could be argued Mr Norris' legacy in the industry was further cemented after downing the gavel as he went on to create Elite Livestock Auctions and helped change the course of the way livestock was sold across the country.
"It was a very big thing to win at a young age because the exposure it gives you to the entire industry is just incredible," Mr Norris said.
"You get a chance to meet people you wouldn't normally meet and establish new clients you otherwise wouldn't.
"I think it was certainly a life changing experience for me and one of the things I look back at most fondly is the friendships I still have today through the competition, even though it is the best part of 20 years ago."
Mr Norris' advice to the current crop of auctioneers was to adapt to the environment.
"Every single auction you do is different with new people, a new audience and new lots, so preparing accordingly is crucial," he said.
For Wayne York, the chance to compete at a national level was a dream come true.
During his tenure with Elders Limited at Theodore, he primed himself to give the competition his best shot.
It paid off because by his own admission, he was ecstatic when he was adjudged the national champion.
What followed was an illustrious career, which has taken him to all corners of the country, as well as overseas, that still continues today with some special auctioneering appearances.
However, it is the core of the industry that still inspires him as he works hard to take his own stud, Karragarra Simmental and Droughtmasters at Emerald, to the next level.
"Meeting so many new people and being given the chance to go to Canada were probably the two biggest highlights out of the competition for me," Mr York said.
"It opened so many doors for my career and helped me develop some friendships that I'm sure I'll have for life."
Still regarded as one of the country's best auctioneers, Mr York said this year's competitors should focus on maintaining their own style while selling.
"My advice would be to perfect your own style, whatever that may be," he said.
"Everyone has their own style and if you can be engaging and knowledgeable in your own style you should go pretty far."
When Joel Fleming won the Queensland final while representing Landmark at Goondiwindi in 2011, he became the first auctioneer to win both the NSW and Queensland titles and the second auctioneer to win in two different states alongside Miles Pfitzner (Vic and SA).
After winning the NSW title in 2009, Mr Fleming was the national runner up in 2010 before going one better in Queensland during the next two years.
What followed was a trip to Canada before an established career with Nutrien in Tamworth, which is often highlighted by the annual Nutrien Classic horse and cattle sales.
"As a young agent, the competition exposes you to a really good group of your peers as well as the industry as a whole," Mr Fleming said.
"There's no doubt it was crucial to my development and the skills I learned along the way are still being used nearly every day."
A regular figure at weekly sales in Tamworth as well as stud sales across the country, Mr Fleming said it was important this year's finalists didn't forget to enjoy themselves.
"Just have fun with it and embrace it," he said.
"If you can include a bit of your personality into your style it will help a lot and the big thing is to practice as much as you can. Even the guys who have been doing it for decades still practice at home, so it is always important."
The opportunity to compete at a national level didn't come in the conventional sense for Lincoln McKinlay.
During his time at TopX Roma under the watchful eye of his mentor Cyril Close, Mr McKinlay was named runner up of the Queensland competition in 2014 and again in 2016.
However, having the experience of auctioneer school in America and the support of experienced statesmen by his side, he eventually tasted the ultimate success by winning the national title in 2017. From there, he became the third Australian to win the Livestock Auctioneer Championship Rookie of the Year at Calgary behind Luke Scicluna and Ronnie Dix.
"I'm extremely proud of what I was able to achieve for not only myself, but everyone who helped me along the way," Mr McKinlay said.
"Having my dad and Cyril there at both the national and international level was something really special and something I'll never forget."
A current mainstay of the studstock industry with Elders, Mr McKinlay said "giving it your all" was the best thing for this year's competitors to remember.
"There is only a short window in your career to be involved in the competition so just give it a red-hot crack," he said.
By his own admission, not much as changed for Anthony O'Dwyer since he won the national YAC.
He still works for GDL at Dalby, where he is regularly selling at weekly cattle sales and stud sales. However, he said the competition had changed his career because of the new friends he met along the way.
"I've met so many great people through the YAC and it did a lot for my confidence that's for sure," Mr O'Dwyer said.
"I still get a bit nervous while selling from time to time, but there's no doubt that experience really helped me with that as well.
"My advice to this year's competitors is to relax as much as you can and not let those nerves take over."
The state's most recent winner, Liam Kirkwood has gone to new heights since his victory by becoming the youngest director in the Ray White network.
Still based in Townsville, he looks back fondly on his recent achievement and the opportunities it has since unlocked, such as selling thousands of cattle at Charters Towers and more recently, property.
His advice to the finalists: "don't panic and be prepared".
"If you go in and give it 100 per cent you will take a lot out of it," Mr Kirkwood said.
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