First published by Lucy Kinbacher in Queensland Country Life

A young woman who resurrected dwindling competitions, a show society member of more than 40 years and an initiative for rural women were among the big winners of this year’s Queensland Ag Shows Awards.

From a record 36 nominations, the big winners of the emerging leader, outstanding contribution and best innovation categories were announced in Brisbane on Saturday evening 18th March 2023.

It was Julie Waltz from Wandoan Show who was awarded the Outstanding Individual Contribution Award.

Ms Waltz was described as continually striving to keep intergenerational community members engaged and connected with the Wandoan community.

Her innovative ideas, organisation, willingness to sacrifice herself and her seemingly boundless energy were all “legendary” in Wandoan.

Julie, a member for more than 40 years including holding the positions of treasurer and secretary, had taken part in running or assisting in the introduction of the WAGS (Women and Girls at the Show) and the Aim High Black Tie Gala.

The runner up was Jess Crawford from Emerald who had been instrumental in building and modernising the Emerald Show Society executive team.

Shelley Doyle from Warwick Show and Rodeo Society was the Emerging Leader Award winner.

Her involvement with the Warwick Showgirl competition in 2007 ignited her passion for the show and she had gone on to be a rural ambassador, vice show chairperson and chief steward of the stud cattle and led steer section.

She grew participation in junior livestock competitions, held a two-day cattle judging school in Warwick, and introduced ‘The Pat Flynn Shield of Excellence’ in 2018, named after her own cattle showing mentor, Pat Flynn.

Outside of the cattle ring, she also established other exhibits to attract patrons.

Runner up was Amanda Finlay from Gin Gin Show Society.

The best innovation was the Soirée at the Show at Heritage Bank Toowoomba Royal Show.

It was aimed at enticing women who may not normally be show patrons and allow rural women to connect without the pressure of competition.

The sold-out event saw women, and two men, mingle and mix in a beautifully decorated lounge and event space with guest speakers and raffles, and gift bags too.

Runner up was Trello from Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show.