COMPETITION was ramped up this year in the Jim Horwood sheep pavilion with five schools entered in the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) young sheep producers challenge at the 2018 IGA Perth Royal Show.
Students from WA Colleges of Agriculture, Narrogin, Cunderdin, Denmark and Harvey, as well as Esperance Farm School, were put through their paces in shearing, wool handling and Merino judging in an effort to gain most points and finish as the 2018 victors.
Graeme Curry, representing AWI, said competitions such as this help encouraged the next generation of leaders in the Australian wool industry.
“What better way is there to spend woolgrower levy money than by investing in the education of the future generations who will ultimately run our industry,” Mr Curry said.
“We need to encourage and develop the skills of the future stockmen and women of our industry as well as our future shearers and wool handlers.
“And that is what competition does, by giving students the opportunity to practice and receive helpful tips from people who are at the top of their fields.”
Mr Curry, who was also the overseeing judge in the Merino judging, said every student handled themself well during the competition.
“The students were all prepared and were competent in the skills they were asked to demonstrate,” he said.
In the end, the awards had to be handed out with the team from WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin, coming away as the clear winner with a total of 497 points.
Narrogin was second with 442.84 points and Harvey third with 417.51 points, followed by Esperance Farm School and Denmark in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Individual prizes were also awarded with a tie for first place in the shearing.
Well-known and highly experienced shearers Don Boyle and Todd Wegner judged the shearing competition this year with Mr Boyle saying they refused to select a single winner when it became clear there was a tie for first place.
“Both first placegetters got their score fair and square and deserved the win,” Mr Boyle said.
“Overall the shearing on the day was of a high standard and it’s always excellent to have young shearers involved who aren’t afraid to listen.”
Equal first place shearers with 81.34 points were Ethan Gellatly from the Harvey team and Ashton Hagboom from the Cunderdin team, followed by Tom Price, Narrogin, in second and Jake Garlick, Cunderdin, in third.
Merino judging was presided over by Mr Curry with students Aaron Steele and Bonnie Telfer from Cunderdin taking first and second place respectively, with Rene Naude from Narrogin coming third.
First place in the wool handling competition went to Courtney Garlett, Cunderdin, followed by another Cunderdin student James Thomas in second, with Jade Challenger, Esperance Farm School, third.
Wool handling judge Wayne Laird agreed all the students entered into the competition did well and were willing to listen.
“The wool industry is flourishing at the moment so it’s really fantastic to have students here and willing to learn about wool,” Mr Laird said.
At the end of the day of competition, the judges provided a demonstration for the students to help explain the tips and hints they had provided throughout the day.
“We thought it would be good to try and round out the competition with a demonstration so we could show the students what we’d been talking about,” Mr Laird said.
“And it was great - they listened and watched closely which is always good to see and hopefully they learned something they can take away and apply later on.”