A fast talking people person

We are a sounding board for people. You talk to them about their cattle, their lives, husbands, wives, kids, droughts, floods.”Cyril Close

There’s more to an auctioneer than frantically keeping pace with the cattle sales.

TopX part owner Cyril Close (RGS 1983) has watched the industry transform and become more professional since he first tested the waters as a novice cattle auctioneer working for Primac, in Miles, in 1986.

“I vividly remember my early days of being an auctioneer. I was hopeless,’’ Cyril said.

“We never had training or mentors back then. You just had to watch and listen. You’d go from being on the books to being told you were selling the next lot and you’d just have to do your best.

“I still love the adrenaline and the challenge of thinking on your feet. In 30 seconds, it’s you against someone else.”

Cyril now owns the Roma TopX Livestock and Property Marketing business and is a part-owner of TopX, which has grown to nine franchises across Queensland.

“I often think, how did I get to where I am.”

Years of experience in the industry has prompted Cyril and his team to improve the professional development in the industry, giving younger auctioneers the tools they need to be successful.

“We had to get better at what we did,’’ Cyril said.

In recent years, TopX has run auctioneer schools in Rockhampton – auctioneers from different companies coming together to learn the tricks of the trade.

“Even though they’re the opposition, we pull our shirts off and help each other in this industry, and you make some great friendships along the way,’’ Cyril said.

Cyril said it was important that auctioneers know the markets and the commodities they are selling.

“You also have to have respect for everyone around you,’’ Cyril said.

“You are responsible for their livelihood and can be a linchpin as to whether they are successful in their business or not. You have to be a people person. If you’re not, get out of the game.”

The sales ride the highs and lows of industry. Peoples’ emotions can be tested. 

The mentoring role also now focuses on the increased pressures of mental health.

Cyril considers himself, and others, unofficial counsellors in the industry.

“We are well aware of the mental health battles people face. We’ve offered our services at many mental health charity auctions to support this cause,’’ Cyril said.

“We are a sounding board for people. You talk to them about their cattle, their lives, husbands, wives, kids, droughts, floods.”

Boarding at RGS, Cyril’s family managed properties in the Nebo, Marlborough and Taroom districts.

“I was like a nomad going home for holidays somewhere different all the time,’’ Cyril said.

“I didn’t think too much of it back then, it’s just how life was and I just loved the outdoors, the freedom and working with cattle.”

Like many others graduating from school in the early 1980s Cyril was chasing an apprenticeship. Applying for boilermaker apprenticeships from Weipa to Brisbane, with no luck, Cyril ventured to Taroom to work in merchandise for Primac.

Cyril looked at the option of further studies at Gatton until Primac offered him a full time job and he would progress from the merchandise to livestock sector.

Like his nomadic childhood and meeting new people along the way, Cyril now not only enjoys being a part of the lives of buyers and sellers at the cattle sales, but also enjoys meeting new people intrigued by the industry.

“The Roma sales have turned into a real tourist attraction on the grey nomad tourist run,’’ Cyril said.

“They love it. You can’t wipe the smiles off their faces. The district has done a great job promoting the sales as a tourist attraction.

“I’m extremely fortunate coming into this role in life and it’s given me a successful career.”