YOUNG men again dominated the Royal Agricultural Society's Australia Post Young Rural Ambassador Award, with Karl Suckling, Northampton, winning this year's title.
Second was Tyrone Henning, who was nominated from the Koorda district and represented the Eastern Districts.
Mr Suckling's win follows last year's inaugural Young Rural Ambassador Daniel Martin, Mt Barker.
The other three finalists were Trevlyn Ducat, Grass Valley, representing the Central Districts, Melanie Davey, Wagin, (Great Southern), and Rhett Blunsdone, Harvey, (South West).
Representing the Mid West region, Mr Suckling is from a grain and sheep farming family and is an agronomist with Elders.
"I was very surprised to win and I feel very privileged," he said after the announcement of his win.
In a bid to promote WA's agricultural societies Mr Suckling has plans to take a leadership role and work with the other four finalists to publicise the award and encourage others to nominate.
Backed by a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree Mr Suckling is actively involved in a farm improvement group that looks at farming from a whole system perspective, including boosting farmer's marketing and financial management knowledge.
Entrants were judged on their agricultural and general knowledge, communication skills and personal presentation, interest in community projects and background in rural and country towns.
One of three judges, Julie Cole, media secretary to former Agriculture minister Monty House, said the quality of all finalists was very high, making it a difficult decision.
But it was Mr Suckling's passion and enthusiasm for the agricultural industry that gave him the edge.
In addition, he displayed commitment to agricultural societies through his drive and ethos in terms of bringing agriculture to the city, Ms Cole said.
"It was refreshing and rewarding to be a part of the judging and it was pleasing to see so many young and enthusiastic people in rural WA," Ms Cole said.
Reflecting the changing times, the award was changed from the Miss Showgirl competition, last held in 1999, to the Australia Post Young Rural Ambassador Award.
The award is aimed at youth and provides them with an opportunity to promote rural WA and to play a greater role in the continuing endeavour to "bridge the gap" between country and city.
The award is available to both young men and women aged between 18 and 28.
The award gives Mr Suckling an international agricultural study tour, 12 months RAS membership, $1000 cash and other prizes.
He will be required to return to Perth as the RAS's guest, attending various functions prior to and during the week of the Royal Show.
Mr Suckling will represent WA at the National competition in Tasmania in 2002.