WORDS Kim Newth PHOTO Graham Warman

To start slow and stay relaxed is champion auctioneer Logan Moore’s top tip for those vying for this month’s 2018 Young Auctioneers’ title at the New Zealand Agricultural Show.

“When you’re nervous, you just want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible but it’s better to slow up a bit and think about what you’re saying,” says the Balclutha-based livestock agent and auctioneer.

Having had two attempts at the title before winning it last year, Logan appreciates the challenges in store for this year’s young competitors who must impress the judges with their sales savvy and verbal skills at scheduled mock auctions. They will need to know their stock exceptionally well and have an impressive patter to be in with a chance. A quick wit and confidence are fundamental to success.

“These are things that you learn through experience,” says the 27-year-old, who credits Otago head auctioneers’ Rob Fowler and Dennis Mullally as personal mentors.

“You pick it up as you go by watching other auctioneers and then gradually put together your own style.”

Around his local sales yards, Logan is known for his quick fire one-liners.

“In the heat of moment, they come to you out of nowhere and are sometimes pretty inappropriate. You just move on quickly and say something else before people have time to think about it too much! You get to know people and their habits and that all comes into it.”

Growing up in the Central Otago township of Millers Flat, Logan gravitated to rural work and gained a good grounding in beef and sheep farming in his younger years. He started out in a clerical role at the Balclutha Saleyards before moving into sales as an auctioneer for Rural Livestock Ltd. Since then, he’s auctioned everything from prime lambs through to “topless male rugby players” (‘sold’ to wait on tables as part of a charity fundraiser in Dunedin).

As part of last year’s prize package, Logan had the opportunity to travel to the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show where he conducted a charity auction at Darling Harbour and got to see Australian auctioneers at work.

“In my opinion, they’re ahead of us – it’s all very professional over there. They’ve got so many training courses and even an auctioneers’ school.”

In May, he was invited back to Australia by Magic Millions’ bloodstock manager Clint Donovan. “I was there as a bid spotter – the role is to spot bids in a certain part of the crowd and then yell them out to the auctioneer. It was a great experience and I’m hoping to go back again next year.”

Selling stud stock at Silverstream’s 50 Year Celebration Sale in June has been another career high for Logan, who shared the gig with Bruce Orr, one of the country’s most seasoned auctioneers and a revered stud stock guru.

This month, Logan will be bid spotting at the New Zealand Bloodstock Thoroughbred Sale at Karaka. “You have to be patient and sit in the wings for a few years but I hope to get a crack as auctioneer at one of these top horse sales before too long.”

No matter what he’s selling though, Logan’s goal remains the same.

“You’re just trying to get as much as you can for your clients.”

FeaturesJoshua Brosnahan