Young herdsman keeps family Ekka tradition alive

TRADITIONS were on full display at the Ekka this year, with sixteen-year-old Billy Goetsch continuing his family's legacy of showing cattle at the Ekka.

Billy's father, Neil Goetsch, said there was a long, strong family history with the cattle industry, and the Ekka.

"We used to pick and show cattle for a living, years ago. We've been showing at the Ekka for about thirty years. He's picking up where we dropped off," Neil said.

Billy himself has been involved with the event since a young age.

"As a youngster, Billy spent a lot of time with the Ekka even before he started showing himself. He's been showing cattle at the Ekka since he was eight. He's been going there for quite a few years," Neil said.

This year, Billy took four head to the Ekka, three steers and a heifer, all of which were his own cattle.

"He managed to pick up a third place on the hoof, a third place on the hook in the carcass competition, and a fourth and fifth," Neil said.

The family operates Goetsch & Sons Auctioneer & Realty at Kalbar, and specialise in clearing sales, livestock auctions, and real estate.

"We actually do the auction down at the Ekka as well, the steers and the cattle, so it was quite a busy week for the family down there," Neil said.

Like many in the livestock industry, the ongoing drought has had a detrimental effect on the Goetsch family's main area of interest.

"It really limited our showing this year, with the cost of grain, and the cost of feed, we've had to limit our numbers," Neil said.

"Billy would've liked to have taken more to the show, but unfortunately, the cost was too much." The same issue impacted most producers who showed their stock at the Ekka.

"Everybody was in the same boat, due to the weather conditions, but it was still a good show. More than 340 steers entered into the steer section," Neil said.

"The Ekka's probably the best steer show in Australia, by far. People come from all over Australia to go to it."