Seven national finalists will face off at EKKA to compete in the prestigious annual meat sheep young judges competition
The competition brings together the best young meat sheep judges aged from 15 to 25 from each state to compete at the national finals. Qualification for the national finals has been achieved through success in regional and state competitions.
The national competition is held in a different location each year to promote livestock judging, parading and the industry as widely as possible throughout Australia.
In 2021 the event will run from 7 to 9 August and be hosted by Queensland Ag Shows at the 143rd Royal Queensland Show in Brisbane, known affectionately by locals as Ekka.
Making the long trip across the Nullarbor Plains to represent Western Australia is 19 year old Brendan Lamont from Tambellup WA. Brendan will face up to heavy eastern state competitors such as 24 year old Georgia Lee from Harristown Qld with the home state advantage.
While 20 year old Reece Webster from White Rock will be representing New South Wales. And there is 18 year old Tom Megson from Kanmantoo who will be representing South Australia.
Further east in the cold climes there is 17 year old Erin Douglas from Mornington ready to fight for her home state Victoria, and Erin will be kept busy as she is a state finalist in two competitions at the same event.
Bringing together some competition usually separated by water will be 21 year old Molly Cornish from Bridport, representing Tasmania. And from across the ditch 17 year old Tayla Hansen from Taupiri will be representing New Zealand.
The competition is run by Agricultural Shows Australia (ASA) and is designed to recognise the best new talent in livestock judging nationwide.
ASA as the peak body oversees 572 agricultural shows that attract six million visitors annually and contribute nearly $1billion to the national economy.
Dr. Rob Wilson, chairman of ASA, says “It’s an extremely prestigious event and positions at the nationals are keenly contested.
“These young people are the future of agricultural show competitions which are crucial to the continual improvement of Australia’s food and fibre. The national competition is a coveted opportunity to grow personally and professionally by practising skills against the cream of the crop.” Dr. Wilson explains.
Queensland Ag Shows president Kerri Robertson explained that, in a meat sheep judging competition, it is important for the assessor to relate the form of the animal to its function.
“Livestock producers, breeders, feeders and buyers all judge and evaluate livestock for their potential as either breeding or market animals,” Mr Robertson explained.
“The task of judging is a subjective one, based on selected production systems and changing market conditions. It is important that entrants are able to use their skills and articulate their approach.
“Our goal is to expand the knowledge and skills foundations of the entrants, helping them as youthful individuals to develop their careers.”
Overall there are nine categories for judging and parading each year under the ASA national competition program: beef cattle, dairy cattle, alpaca, poultry, Merino sheep, meat sheep breed and Merino fleece judging, as well as parading competitions in beef and dairy cattle.
Previous national winners of the meat sheep young judges competition include Keiran Smith in 2019 representing NSW, Lachlan Grossman in 2018 representing SA, Joanna Balcombe in 2017 representing NSW, and Emma-Jane Lovell in 2016 also representing NSW.
Emma Skinner broke the NSW run when she won in 2015 representing VIC, Erin Lee in 2014 representing QLD, Robert Gregory in 2013 representing NZ, Andrew Herron in 2012 representing QLD, Ellie Quinn in 2011 representing WA, Matthew Jones in 2010 representing NSW, Bayden Reid in 2009 representing WA and Kate Jordan in 2008 representing NZ.
Meat sheep breeds finalists for 2021
19 year old Brendan Lamont from Tambellup will be representing Western Australia.
24 year old Georgia Lee from Harristown will be representing Queensland.
20 year old Reece Webster from White Rock will be representing New South Wales. 17 year old Tayla Hansen from Taupiri will be representing New Zealand.
18 year old Tom Megson from Kanmantoo will be representing South Australia.
17 year old Erin Douglas from Mornington will be representing Victoria. Erin is a state finalist in two competitions.
21 year old Molly Cornish from Bridport will be representing Tasmania.