NICOLE Hartwig has spent her entire life around cattle.
The Queenslander grew up on a massive cattle property near Biloela. The 9300ha (23,000 acres) property is home to both a Hereford stud and, more recently, a Charolais stud.
Nicole, who is the partner of Gloucester local Stephen Coombes, started the Charolais stud with her sister in 2003.
She recently travelled to New Zealand to compete in the Federal Council of Agricultural Societies beef cattle paraders championship.
Nicole won the Queensland title in 2012.
It is not the first time Nicole has represented her State at the titles, she finished runner-up in the competition in 2009.
Beef cattle parading requires participants to prepare a beast for showing within a limited time span.
Nicole was up against six other competition winners from across Australia and New Zealand.
“There’s a ballot draw and then you’re given an hour to prepare your beast,” Nicole said.
“That includes cleaning, brushing, grooming, haltering and any other little touches.”
Competitors then lead their beasts twice around a yard before presenting them to a panel of judges.
“You swap beasts four times. It’s all about how you control different animals with different attitudes,” Nicole said.
“My final beast was a heifer with a bit of stir, a bit of fight. No-one could get her to relax and I did. Everyone else was trying to scratch her. Once I stopped she relaxed.”
Nicole said reading and responding to cattle was a skill that required plenty of hard work.
“Practice helps and so does spending a lot of time around cattle, but to be good at it, you’ve got to be a natural,” she said.