10 June, 2023
Rikki reigns as new rural ambassador
IN 2014, Rikki Payne attended an Educational Dairy Youth Camp in Malanda for the very first time.
Not having come off a property herself, she won the Rabobank Senior Section Champion Leader and the Senior Student of the Dairy Camp award as well.
At a dinner for the NQ Sub Chamber Rural Ambassador finals in Tully on 27 May, history repeated itself with her winning the title of 2023 North Queensland Rural Ambassador.
The Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards is the pre-eminent rural and agricultural leadership program for men and women aged between 20-30.
Run by Queensland Agricultural Shows since 2003, the awards allow young people to promote Queensland, agriculture, rural communities and show societies, while providing an avenue for local communities and agricultural shows to recognise, celebrate and develop future leaders.
Rikki will now represent Far North Queensland at the Brisbane Exhibition in August this year.
The winner will then go on to compete at a national level.
Malanda Show Society president Greg English said that to achieve what Rikki has done clearly demonstrated her strong work ethic and her dedication to the local Malanda Show Society, the rural community and to agriculture on the Tablelands, and recognised her as being one of the next generation of leaders.
“For someone to grow up in a small rural town who now goes on to represent the whole of Far North Queensland at a State level at the Brisbane Exhibition is a remarkable achievement,” he said.
Rikki chose to enter the Malanda Show Society Rural Ambassador program in 2022 to give her a platform to showcase and promote the local Malanda Show and to encourage younger participants to join in and step out of their comfort zone.
“As the first Malanda Show Rural Ambassador, I want to make an example for the ambassadors to come,” she said.
“The competition has inspired me to showcase our beautiful show and to encourage the younger generation to participate in this competition and in our local show.
“I believe that agricultural shows do a lot for our community and that these shows represent our agricultural industries and the backbones of our communities.
“The feeling I got when I won the 2023 North Queensland Rural Ambassador was fantastic!
“I’m proud and honoured to get this far, it has been a fantastic experience.
“Meeting so many amazing people from different parts of our sub chamber and connecting with both ambassadors and showgirls was the highlight of the NQ Sub Chamber Rural Ambassador finals night for me.
“The advice given by previous contest-ants was interesting and helpful.”
First becoming involved in 2012 when she was 12 years old, Rikki attended her first cattle handling and judging school and loved it.
“My love for agriculture started with my first cattle handling and judging school, which Mr David Kilpatrick (agriculture teacher) arranged.
“I took agriculture all through high school and learnt heaps from it!”
Since then, Rikki has gone on to lead and parade cattle at Malanda, Atherton and Tully Shows and well as at International Dairy Week at the Tatura Park Exhibition Centre in Tatura, Victoria.
Malanda Show Society manager Kate Stokes said that she wished Rikki all the best for the next phase of the competition and hoped she enjoys the experience.
“In the last year she has become a member of the Show Society and now actively attends meetings and regularly volunteers,” she said.
Her involvement has also extended into other areas of the show as well. Having exhibited with various studs in the dairy ring from a young age at the Malanda Show, she has continued supporting exhibitors in the dairy section.
More recently, her interest has expanded into the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Malanda Show.
Having previously been an entrant in the Show Queen Competition for the Malanda Centenary Show in 2016, Rikki is now on the sub-committees for the Show Queen & Princess and Rural Ambassador competitions.