Teacher wins big at Ekka
NANANGO high school teacher, Nathan Trace has done the region proud by claiming runner up honours at the 2018 Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador competition at the Brisbane Exhibition over the weekend.
Over the past week, Nathan has spent time with 10 other rural ambassador contestants from all over Queensland as they went on farm tours and networked with farm owners from various farming areas.
"We even went to a camel farm. I drank the camel milk it was really good, really creamy,” Mr Trace said.
They spent time on various farms speaking with farm owners and discussing new updates on crops and vegetation.
On Saturday night, Nathan was chosen as runner up in the popular award ceremony and he couldn't have been more surprised.
"I wasn't expecting anything. There were a lot of other contestants with so much more experience than me, so I was very surprised,” Mr Trace said.
The rural ambassadors are passionate about promoting rural products and services throughout the state and educating people on what rural industries do.
Helping people understand just how diverse rural careers are is an important part of Mr Trace's role as rural ambassador.
"It isn't just bums in saddles, there are lots of rural career opportunities. They can get into marketing, admin, sales, you name it. We even need rural pilots,” Mr Trace said.
Nathan's sister, Amy Wicks is very proud of her brother's achievement.
"It is a huge competition and a great achievement. I am very proud of him,” Mrs Wicks said.
Joining Nathan in representing the South Burnett was Stacey Sanders who was a finalist in the Miss Showgirl competition.
Miss Sanders said she loved the experience and made instant friendships with the other Miss Showgirl finalists.
"I was quite nervous before I met the girls but they were great,” she said.
The showgirl entrants have spent the last week on a tour of various government and rural landmarks.
"We went to government house and did a tour of parliament. It was lots of fun, you sort of forgot about the fact it was a competition. It felt more like a holiday,” Miss Sanders said.
Opposition leader, Deb Frecklington, who has a very strong link to the Ekka having been involved in the Miss Showgirl competition in the past as well as taking second prize in the traditional pesto at this year's show, gave the girls a tour of parliament house and some of the girls were in awe of the LNP leader.
"The girls were 'fan-girling' over Deb Frecklington,” Miss Sanders said.
The serious end of the event was on Friday morning where the Showgirls were interviewed by a panel of four prestigious judges including Gina Fairfax.
"They asked us questions like how would we promote the rural agricultural show and our opinion on how to help farmers,” Miss Sanders said.
Mr Trace said the significance of winning his award hadn't hit him yet.
"I haven't had a chance to let it sink in yet. I have been so busy,” he said.
Mr Trace who was enjoying his second year at the Nanango school said some of his students came and saw him at the show.
"It was great to see of the kids at the show, I will be back to school on Wednesday and I can't wait,” Mr Trace said.
He loves working in a rural school and he is passionate about guiding the students into an industry where they are best suited after they finish their studies.
"Keeping our kids on the farm after school is important,” he said.
Nathan will now represent QLD at the 2018 Adelaide Royal Show in September.