Blackbutt Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols represents the South Burnett at the state finals at the Brisbane Ekka.
Blackbutt Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols represents the South Burnett at the state finals at the Brisbane Ekka. Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassado

Ekka inspires rural ambassador to make a difference

SOUTH Burnett's rural ambassador cannot wait to start getting involved in the rural shows across the Burnett.

Leonie Nichols said her experience at the Brisbane RNA Show last week was inspiring.

"I had the best time ever, it was so enjoyable, so many things were interesting,” she said.

"I honestly couldn't recommend it highly enough.”

Miss Nichols attended the Ekka as part of the rural ambassadors state finals where she competed against 11 others from across Queensland.

South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols meets with the other state finalists at the Brisbane Ekka.
South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols meets with the other state finalists at the Brisbane Ekka. Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassado

"The whole time you didn't feel like you were in a competition,” she said.

"By the end of it we were just a big group of friends, everyone was like-minded and passionate about the same things.”

The Blackbutt Show Society's first Ekka representative said she enjoyed the visit to the camel dairy on Thursday, August 8.

"There were so many things, every day we were there was jam packed full of great activities,” she said.

They also visited processing plants, met AgForce representatives and toured events like the woodchop competitions at the Ekka.

South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols meets with the other state finalists at the Brisbane Ekka.
South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols meets with the other state finalists at the Brisbane Ekka. Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassado

The contestants were each interviewed by legendary royal showring announcer Angus Lane in the ring and got to watch the Friday night Ekka show from the member's stand.

The Ekka experience included not only sight-seeing, but featured a three-hour professional development workshop and a session with the next-gen show committee.

"It gave us a lot of motivation to do our best as young people in the show societies,” Miss Nichols said.

The Queensland Rural Ambassador title was taken out by the Near North Coast Sub Chamber's Gympie Show Society ambassador Myles Newcombe.

Burnett Sub Chamber's Monto representative Brianna Hockey was named the runners up ambassador and the community spirit was awarded to North Queensland Sub Chamber and Cairns representative Matthew Castino.

South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols meets with the other state finalists at the Brisbane Ekka.
South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols meets with the other state finalists at the Brisbane Ekka. Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassado

The judges, including South Burnett judge Damien Tessman, said it was a close competition with each of the finalists very passionate about the shows and agriculture.

"I'm really proud to go this year and go up against such tough competition,” Miss Nichols said.

"I really believe each of us finalists are going to make a difference.”

She will be bringing home many new ideas to implement in her shows such as a letter scavenger hunt for children and the increasingly popular Dachshund races.

The rural ambassador plans to visit schools in the lead-up to each of the South Burnett shows to encourage more young people to get involved.

Miss Nichols encourages the community to get involved and attend the upcoming Wondai Show on August 30 and 31, which kicks of the new South Burnett show season.

AMBASSADOR: Trevor Buckingham, South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols and Estelle Drynan at the state finals at the Ekka.
AMBASSADOR: Trevor Buckingham, South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols and Estelle Drynan at the state finals at the Ekka. Contributed