MEMORIES: Retired auctioneer Earl Retschlag of Nanango returned to the Coolabunia Saleyards and purchased a pen of Santa steers.
MEMORIES: Retired auctioneer Earl Retschlag of Nanango returned to the Coolabunia Saleyards and purchased a pen of Santa steers. Rhiannon Tuffield

Earl is back in the yard battling for the best price

MUCH of Earl Retschlag's life was spent under the hot sun on the catwalks of the Coolabunia Saleyards, battling out for the best price and enjoying banter with the buyers and vendors.

After 34 years in the profession, and many highs and lows, Mr Retschlag retired to look after his wife.

On Tuesday the former auctioneer returned to Coolabunia for the second time in four years and said a lot had changed, but it was very much how he remembered it.

"It was great to be back," he said.

"After spending all those years there and then going back to revisit great people - it was wonderful."

Mr Retschlag looked back on his time at the saleyards fondly and said it had always brought a mix of emotions. "There's always been highs and lows in the cattle market," he said.

"When it's high it's an auctioneers dream, when it's low it's a battle.

"Many times I stepped down from the catwalk and I'd feel defeated.

"It used to upset me when we couldn't pull food money for the people."

Mr Retschlag picked the perfect day to return to the sales, as it was buzzing with high prices and prime cattle.

By the day's end, Mr Retschlag had purchased a pen of nine Santa steers for 2.54/kg.

"It's been a long time since I've been to a sale, but today was a very high market," he said.

"I possibly bought the most expensive steers there," he laughed.

"They're good quality and very quiet - when I was a young man, the noise never worried me, but it does now.

"I don't work anymore, I just walk amongst them.

"I spend every single day with them."

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