Young auctioneer Joel Fleming looks back on a winning year

A trip to the Calgary Stampede in Canada was the highlight of the year for Joel Fleming, ALPA 2012 Young Auctioneer of the Year. Here he talks about the competition, his win and how the experience of a lifetime has also provided a boost to his career.

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Joel Fleming says that winning the 2012 Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA) Young Auctioneers Competition was the best thing he’s ever done. Along with a cash prize he won a trip to the Calgary Stampede in Canada – an experience he describes as “absolutely amazing”.

“Auctioneering is a completely different world over there – it’s a really big part of the livestock industry,” says Fleming, a stud stock auctioneer for Landmark. “I got to compete in the International Livestock Auctioneering Competition and being part of their world for a while was the experience of a lifetime. But, for me, the most important aspect of the win was the people I got to meet and the different paths I got to take.  It’s benefited my career more than I could’ve imagined.”

Australia’s best young auctioneers have been doing battle for a national title since 1988. Then, in 2000, the competition was taken to a new level when the New South Wales (NSW) Stock and Station Agents Association launched the official Young Auctioneers Competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The Show is now home to both the NSW State Finals and the Australian National Finals, which attracts entrants from Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and, most recently, Western Australia a swell as its home state.

Like every other NSW competitor, Fleming started his quest with a two-day program at the ALPA Auctioneers School. “That was back in 2009 when I’d only been selling for about four months, so I was still pretty green and keen to learn,” he says.

At the end of the course, he was one of 10 students selected by the ALPA NSW Professional Development and Education Committee to take part in the state final. Just three years later, he took home both the national title and, with Dale Kirchen, the NAB Team Shield, which is awarded to the team with the highest combined score.

He recommends the competition to anyone hoping to forge a career in livestock and auctioneering. “Young people can find it hard to break in to any industry and this one is no different,” he says. “The competition really gets your name out there so you become known to a lot of people outside your immediate livestock selling centre.”

Fleming was back at the Show in March to congratulate this year’s winner, Joe Wilks – another NSW representative. He also conducted the annual charity auction, raising $5,100 to support the work of The Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“There’s nothing better than watching these young men do what they’re passionate about and great at”, says ALPA CEO, Andy Madigan. “They really do put on a good show that demonstrates the art of auctioneering and shows the audience there’s a lot more involved than fast talking.”

The 2013 Young Auctioneer series kicks off shortly with the below dates confirmed:

  • South Australia        16-17 May
  • Queensland           9 August
  • Victoria                   22 September

Visit alpa.net.au for more information.