By Gabriella Payne
It’s been a long time in the making, but ten young, up-and-coming stock agents from across the state have taken to the rail to showcase their auctioneering skills at the Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association’s 31st annual Victorian Young Auctioneers Competition, with a Leongatha local taking out the top prize.
The competition, which was held at the Shepparton Regional Saleyards on Tuesday 23 February, had been postponed from last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it was clear the young stock agents were raring to go, mustering up excitement in the air as they “sold their hearts out”.
Two of the competing finalists, Ryan Bajada and Matthew Wilson, did a fine job proudly representing Elders Rural Services Pakenham, but it was Jack Ginnane from Nutrien South Gippsland Livestock in Leongatha who came in first place, impressing the judges and the audience, both on site and via live stream, with his salesmanship skills.
Another stand out competitor was runner-up Will Schilling, from DMD Horsham, who mainly sells sheep and lambs back home and was pushed “out of his comfort zone” selling cattle, but still managed to greatly impress the judging panel.
Peter Baldwin, the CEO of the Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association (ALPA) who MC’d the competition, said that the ten finalists this year had done an “outstanding” job and had made the judges’ job very difficult in picking a winner.
“We’re so grateful to be able to have run this event after the year that was 2020 and each of our finalists absolutely sold their hearts out,” Mr Baldwin said.
“They had a challenge to face, but they can all be very proud of themselves and each competitor made their families and their farms proud too.”
The panel of three judges selected Mr Ginnane and Mr Schilling as the winner and runner-up for their diction, values, voice and manner, as well as “their ability to establish their own presence and a unique style” whilst selling cattle for the highest and best price they could.
“It is a milestone in any young auctioneer’s career to be selected to compete in an ALPA Young Auctioneers Competition and our very proud industry can take great heart from the outstanding, enthusiastic and genuine performance from these ten young auctioneers from right across Victoria,” Mr Baldwin said.
“Each auctioneer showed a steely determination to achieve the highest and best price for their vendor using every skill in their repertoire to gain the edge on their fellow competitors enthralling the seasoned buyer gallery and worldwide livestream audience.”
Both Mr Ginnane and Mr Schilling are now headed to the Sydney Royal Easter Show to compete on a national level on Thursday 1 April, where they will represent Victoria and test their skills against other state champions.
Mr Baldwin said that overall, it had been a fantastic day and he hoped that the ten finalists enjoyed and learnt from the experience, stating that it was only “onwards and upwards” from here.
“The great thing about this is whilst it is a young auctioneers competition, our main motivation is trying to create great agents, both male and female,” he said.
“We hope to inspire young men and women to continue making their way into this great industry.”
Mr Baldwin said that ALPA had been determined to ensure the 2020 Victorian Young Auctioneers Competition still went ahead, even though it was later than usual and said that the “good news is we will have the 2021 competition coming up in just six months time”.
As well as congratulating all involved, Mr Baldwin thanked the Greater Shepparton Council for making this year’s competition possible and to Sam Nelson, who “took the bull by the horns” and arranged cattle and put many systems in place to ensure the event ran smoothly.