A GROUP of young Tasmanians are looking to make their mark as the best animal handlers and judges in the country.
Representing a wide cross section of agricultural pursuits the group is preparing to travel to the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The Tasmanian contingent in the Alpaca judging section includes Casey Sulman and Shara Perkins.
“I only started training a few weeks before the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2021 and somehow managed to take out the Adult Championship in both stockman-ship and showmanship as I was only helping out shearing on the farm,” Shara said.
In the dairy cattle section, William Dudfield, 19, from Somerset, will be representing Tasmania in the dairy cattle judge’s competition while Jaxon Gillam, 22, from Burnie, will be representing the state in the national dairy cattle showing competition and Kyle Barker, 23, of Flowerdale will be representing Tasmania in both showing and judging.
In beef cattle judging, Alice Hall, 25, of Scottsdale, and Chelsea Rayner, 24, from Lower Beaulah, will fly the flag for Tasmania.
“I’ve always loved junior judging,” Alice said. “I like being able to articulate how I feel about cattle, being able to look deeper than the hair on their back and know what a good animal needs to function. “I also like the level of personal development I’ve been able to achieve and the people I have met through competing.”
“I started cattle handling through the Sheffield School cattle handling team in 2010 when I was 13 years old. I was paired with breeders who were in close proximity to me and expanded my thirst and passion for showing livestock. “Attending almost every show on the Tasmanian circuit, I have also been incredibly fortunate to assist with cattle at both Royal Melbourne and Sydney Shows,” Chelsea said.
As for beef showing, Demi Bird, 21, of Sheffield, and Thomas Febey, 24, are thrilled to be representing their state.
“My favourite show in Australia is Sydney Royal because of the atmosphere,” Demi said. “My greatest success so far would have to be winning the state finals with a heifer who was very hard to break in and had me close to tears most times I lead her.
“Another great moment was leading supreme exhibit at Royal Hobart show, competing her against my full brother for supreme.”
Molly Cornish, 22, from Bridport, and Tory Hood, 23, of Longford, will compete in the meat sheep young judges’ competition.
“I have competed with horses for the past 18 years at local shows in my state,” Tory said.
“I was competing with my horse at Campbell Town when I won the meat breeds judging,” Tory said.
Tory’s brother Sym Hood (19), a shearer from Longford, has also qualified to compete in both the Merino sheep and Merino fleece young judges’ competition.
As well as representing the state in the Rural Ambassador competition, Matilda Scott, 22, of Cleveland, will be competing in the Merino fleece judging competition.
“I competed in my first fleece judging competition at the 2016 Campbell Town Show,” Matilda said.
“It was a few months after one of my most influential sheep mentors, Les Triffitt, had passed away and I wanted to enter and compete as a tribute to him and everything he had taught me.
“I was fortunate to win the event, qualifying me to compete at the 2017 national Merino fleece judging at the Royal Melbourne Show,” Matilda said.
“A highlight was selecting and entering my first group of three superfine fleeces and winning against some very worthy exhibits. I also rate quite highly, winning the senior hunter class, riding my sister’s horse side-saddle.”
Ashley Meaburn, 20, of Runnymede, will represent Tasmania in the Merino sheep young judging competition.
“I grew up on a farm and racing stable here in Runnymede. My mother’s side of the family are in the thoroughbred racing industry, and my father’s side of the family are Merino sheep farmers that go back generations,” Ashley said.
Tasmania will also be represented in poultry judging by Georgia Weavell, 26, from Campania, and Lewis Burke, 17, from Whiteford.
Sally Kershaw studied agricultural science and has been working as a berry agronomist for Dricoll’s Australia for the last eight years
. She grew upon her family dairy farm in Scottsdale, where she helped out afterschool and on weekends.
She has been a member of her local show society at Scottsdale for seven years and has attended shows her whole life.
As part of the show society, she helps with the animal nursey and the entertainment program.
“Growing up, my favourite time of year was hay season, which was where I – like most farm kids – learned to drive. This ignited my passion for agriculture and everything farming. Later, I went on to study agricultural science in Hobart and have been working as a berry agronomist for Driscoll’s Australia for the last eight years,” Sally said.