Presentation key to success for young judges: livestock guru

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Livestock judge Graeme Curry in the Elders Livestock Arena at the McIntosh and Son Mingenew Midwest Expo. Adam Poulsen/Countryman
Camera IconLivestock judge Graeme Curry in the Elders Livestock Arena at the McIntosh and Son Mingenew Midwest Expo. Adam Poulsen/Countryman

Young livestock judges across WA have received a firm but friendly reminder to “scrub up” ahead of the Agricultural Shows Australia State finals at the Perth Royal Show next month.

According to seasoned judge and Elders livestock consultant Graeme Curry, skills are important but presentation can mean the difference between success and failure.

“The way that the kids present is very important and dress is one thing, but it’s all about confidence too,” Mr Curry explained.

“The judges are looking for every opportunity to take points off them, so it’s the kids’ job to make sure that there’s no holes to be poked.”

Mr Curry made the comments at the Elders Young Judges Competition at the Mingenew Midwest Expo, where the winners of the fleece, Merino sheep and meat breed judging categories earned the right to test their mettle against WA’s best.

Never one to beat around the bush, Mr Curry congratulated the winners — most of whom were competing for the first time — before grilling them about the importance of tucking in their shirts, shining their boots and looking their assessors in the eye.

“The main aim of this is to get kids confident in assessing sheep, classing sheep, and the way they present themselves,” he said.

“Obviously this is a small regional show, but when the kids get to the bigger shows they’re competing with the best of the best and they don’t have the room to move that they do here.

“In another year or two, these kids are going to go out into the workplace and they’re going to be fighting for jobs, so this is also about preparing the kids for those job opportunities.”

WA College of Agriculture — Morawa was the only school to take part in this year’s event, held earlier this month .

Perenjori-based Arra-Dale Merino Stud owner Les Sutherland and livestock judge Graeme Curry at the Elders Livestock Arena.
Camera IconPerenjori-based Arra-Dale Merino Stud owner Les Sutherland and livestock judge Graeme Curry at the Elders Livestock Arena.

For all his stern words, Mr Curry said he was generally impressed with the standard of competitors, who travelled 61km to compete.

As well as sharpening up, he urged them to work on nailing the correct lingo.

“They’ve just got to pick up on the industry jargon with the ewes,” he said.

“Once they get those generic industry terms — length of stable, brightness, whiteness, the muscling in the meat breeds, etcetera — they’re fine.

“They’re all little pedantic things that they’re just going to have to brush up on.

“Most of the kids have got that basic knowledge, but they’re just going to have to polish their skill levels.”

Mr Curry said he was thrilled to see a large cohort of students have a go.

“It was a huge effort on behalf of the Morawa Ag School,” he said.

“We would have had north of 20 kids have a crack in both breeds — happy days.”

Year 11 student Lillian Gibson, 16, claimed the fleece judging category, while Year 12 students Georgia Leheste and Kane Smallwood, both 18, won the meat breed and Merino categories respectively.

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