A group of 23 lads from across the State had no qualms about strutting their stuff on the saleyards catwalk in Dubbo yesterday.

The young men, all under the age of 25, are in the city as part of the two-day Young Auctioneers School to hone their skills for possible selection to compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in March.

Young auctioneer James Bradford has worked with selling agency Garvin and Cousens in Gunnedah for two years and says the key to auctioneering is keeping buyers interested and controlling the sale.

“Getting up and selling in front of all your peers when you’re starting out is probably the hardest thing but it’s like a passion, each time I get up and sell I get a buzz from it,” Mr Bradford said.

“It’s a lot of practice, it takes years to get going but it’s really enjoyable.”

The auctioneers were involved in a mock sale yesterday at Dubbo saleyards and will test their skills in the ring at a simulated “sell off” at Brocklehurst’s Dulcidene Centre today. A speech therapist is also helping the group with breathing and voice projection.

A panel of six judges will select 10 of the top auctioneers tonight, based on their performance during the past two days, to compete at the Young Auctioneers Competition in Sydney.

This is the first time in the school’s seven-year history that the competitors for the Sydney show will be announced after the school has concluded.

Chairman of the school’s professional development and education committee Stewart Rodgers said the 10 competitors were usually selected before the school started.

“We’re now using the school as a selection medium for the competition,” Mr Rodgers said. “For a lot of them, this (competition) can change their career opportunities – they can be offered jobs as a result of their success.”

He said more young people were now taking jobs in the agency game.

“There’s a growing interest in auctioneering from the younger crowd and there’s a lot more young people in the industry now than there has been for many years,” he said.

“I think this is because the agency industry in general is seeking auctioneers and many agents are realising they need more young people.”

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