Rural ambassador runner-up Brigitta Knopke (Kingaroy), South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols (Blackbutt) and Stacey Sanders (Nanango).
Rural ambassador runner-up Brigitta Knopke (Kingaroy), South Burnett Rural Ambassador Leonie Nichols (Blackbutt) and Stacey Sanders (Nanango). Madeline Grace

History-making ambassador loves rural show life

BLACKBUTT'S first ever Ekka representative's world revolves around rural shows.

Leonie Nichols lives and breathes the show life and is honoured to be named this year's South Burnett Rural Ambassador.

"In a nutshell, that's what my life revolves around," Miss Nichols said.

"If I'm not working with cattle, I'm going to a show. The role combines my two passions," Miss Nichols said.

She will now represent the South Burnett at the the Royal Queensland Show, also known as the Ekka, in August where she will compete for the Queensland Rural Ambassador title.

"I'm pretty proud to be living in the South Burnett, so it's going to be pretty good to represent it," she said.

The 20-year-old rural ambassador is not only the first South Burnett finalist for her town, but also the first to represent the Blackbutt Show Society.

She proposed the idea of introducing the rural ambassador role to the Blackbutt Show Society after serving as the Blackbutt Show vice-president in 2018.

"I was the only person in the show society below the age of 40," she said.

"We have a lot of younger people come along on show day, but not involved in the show society.

"If I get involved, the other younger people might get involved."

Miss Nichols has been showing cattle at agricultural shows for the past decade.

She also recently became involved in the Nanango Show, initially assisting the cattle steward before taking on the role of the 2019 chief cattle steward.

"This year I ran the Nanango Show cattle section myself, it was really exciting and a good experience because I had a lot of support," Miss Nichols said.

With years of cattle showing experience behind her, Miss Nichols was ready to step into the role.

"The biggest challenge I face with the exhibitors is sometimes they look at me as a kid," she said.

Miss Nichols hopes to encourage other young adults to get involved in the region's country shows by having someone to mentor them through the roles and ease them into responsibilities.

She invited other young people to attend show society meetings and see behind the scenes of the lead-up to a show.

When she is not attending shows, Miss Nichols works on a farming property, and at the Blackbutt pub.

Miss Nichols encouraged more younger people to get involved in the South Burnett's shows scene and said they could start by checking out the Wondai Show on August 30.

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