Gift of the gab propels Luke to titles
THE GIFT of the gab and an ability to think fast on his feet have brought Lismore auctioneer Luke Thomas, 21, to the brink of national success at the annual Young Auctioneers competition.
Mr Thomas won the state title at last year's Royal Easter Show in Sydney. Next week he's heading south for the 2012 Show, where the national titles are being held on Thursday.
The competition is organised by the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association.
If Mr Thomas wins against the top two state finalists from Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia, he'll get a two-week trip to Canada.
"It's the only award in the business," Mr Thomas told The Northern Star.
"So it's a big thing among the stock agencies that enter a young auctioneer.
"It's a recognition of the work they are doing."
Mr Thomas worked with Elders for three years and now is with the Ian Weir and Son stock agency in Lismore.
The national final is a real sale with real buyers and it attracts a big crowd. In a hall packed with stock and station agents, each contestant has to sell three led steers. They have to be quick-witted and have a good head for numbers.
"Yeah, it's having clarity, knowing the value of what you're selling, and being aware all the time where the bids are coming from," Mr Thomas said.
"I wouldn't want to mistake someone shooing a fly away from his face for a bid.
"I get lots of practice by selling cattle at Casino saleyards every week.
"And I practice when I'm driving - people probably think I'm talking to myself.
"But you have to have good patter. I'm just building up my repertoire. Some of the older guys are great, they've got their own slang and jokes."
Mr Thomas' boss and mentor at Ian Weir is auctioneer Kevin Cocciola, who wishes him well in his stab at the national titles.
"He's a real good young fellow. He's like a son to me."