Ganmain Show sets the scene for inter-schools auctioneers competition

AN opportunity to work with one of the agricultural industry's finest auctioneers and then test the newly-learned skills in an inter-schools competition has paid dividends for Charlotte Nugent.

Miss Nugent, a Year 11 student at the Wagga Christian College, won the inter-schools auctioneers competition at the 111th Ganmain Show on Saturday.

To make it to the final she had to first compete successfully in two rounds of the competition, one of which was held at Ganmain on Saturday morning.

Her enthusiasm for agriculture and experience in showing cattle and junior judging came as a good grounding and helped to provide a firm understanding of primary industries.

She said working with Joe Wilks, who is an auctioneer with Elders in Wagga and also a former winner of the young auctioneers competition at Sydney Royal Easter Show, had provided her with so many new skills.

Despite the fact that auctioneering is a male dominated industry Miss Nugent said it was good to see other females excelling in the inter-schools competition too.

She said, Bianca Staines, a fellow Wagga Christian College student and finalist in the competition, enjoyed learning to sell too.

"(Auctioneering) is not just for the livestock industry, real estate agents sell too," she said.

Meanwhile, she said the camaraderie in the auctioneers competition, and in the agricultural industry in general, was so valuable.

And she didn't expect to see such a huge crowd all gathered around the main stage to watch the final of the competition at Ganmain Show.

While the support was encouraging she concentrated on the front rows of people in the crowd because that was where those with bidder's cards were seated.

"It is not (all) about winning, it teaches you sportsmanship, you are not necessarily going to win everything and it is always nice to congratulate your fellow competitors when they succeed," she said.

Miss Nugent said it was pleasing to do so well but the outcome had not fully sunk in yet.

"I hope this paves the way for other people to become involved in the future," she said.

To cap off a busy weekend Miss Nugent traveled to the Southern All Breeds Handlers Camp at Harden to work as an associate judge on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Mr Wilks said to see the improvement in all of the auctioneers who participated on Saturday was rewarding.

He said there are some who might consider livestock agency and auctioneering as a career and that was a positive step for the industry.

"I was about 8 (years old) when I started selling but I probably started selling properly when I was around 19," he laughed.

He knew from a very young age that this would be his career. Mr Wilks said it was encouraging to have a female winner of the competition on Saturday.

He said three of the finalists were females and they had excelled in the auctioneers competition despite the profession being male dominated.

The competition at Ganmain is believed to be the first event of its kind for school-aged children which allowed students as young as Year 7 to bring the gavel down on pens of lambs and first-cross ewes.

The Riverina Anglican College (TRAC), Wagga Christian College and Yanco Agricultural High School all had participants in the competition.

The show was a follow on from the first round of the competition held earlier at TRAC.

Round two was on Saturday morning at 11am followed by a final at 3.30pm with students standing on the main stage and selling some of the first-cross ewes which were used earlier in the QuickShear competition.

For competition purposes it was a "mock auction" and no livestock or money changed hands.

The idea stemmed from an initiative introduced by TRAC agriculture teacher Trevor Dawson. He thought the concept of teaching auctioneering skills to school-aged children had merit.