It’s arguably every Queensland child’s dream job – but, even as a boy growing up in Brisbane, Brendan Christou never imagined he’d one day be the CEO of the Ekka.
But Queensland’s Royal National Show still loomed large in his young life.
“I’m Brisbane, born and bred… and have these great memories of side-show alley and walking through the cattle stalls.
“As a kid, there were 3 things that you loved – it was your birthday; it was Christmas; and it was the Ekka. And I think that still holds true today – 140 years on.”
Brendan has been at the helm of Queensland’s RNA since 2012 and his own children think their Dad has the best job in the world.
“Certainly my kids think that it’s all about getting on the Ferris Wheel and eating Dagwood Dogs all day – and it’s a lot more than that. In fact, we’ve got a team that work on this 12 months of the year. Everyone is pumped and hyped for the gates to open. When you see the smiles on people’s faces, it is really rewarding.
“I know when I first started at the RNA, I had these memories as a child, but I didn’t really understand what it stood for and why it’s so important. That tie-back to agriculture and the bringing together of city and country is really special.”
That urban-rural connection is a daily experience for Brendan who lives in Brisbane’s western suburb of Brookfield.
“It really is a rural community… and what I find interesting out there is that it all centres on the Showgrounds. You know I love that connection, and the RNA is that, on a bigger scale.”
Brendan also loves the fact that Brookfield has some of the best mountain biking trails in the state’s south-east.
“There’s probably 30 or 40 people who do it 3 or 4 times a week. We all meet at the local Brookfield store at 5.30 in the morning; we go off and ride; and then all come back for a coffee afterwards. And there’s something really special about that.
“The exercise is great but it’s more the sense of community and the banter that goes on after the rides.”
“I also love playing music and music’s been a big part of my life since I was a kid… so I enjoy playing guitar out on the back deck in the bush.
“There’s nothing better on a Saturday afternoon.”
Brisbane’s 2018 Royal National Show – better known as the Ekka – kicks off from Friday 10th August.