A team of six WA College of Agriculture — Cunderdin students have scooped this year’s Australian Wool Innovation Young Sheep Producers Challenge after a near-faultless display of shearing, wool handling and ewe selecting. Each year, groups of six students from agricultural colleges across the State split into pairs to battle it out across three sections — shearing, wool handling and ewe selecting. The six-person team from Cunderdin included Year 12 students Bevan Norwood, Leah Taylor, Caden Cox, Zara Squiers, Cody Walker and Jesse Reed. Of the Cunderdin team, Bevan and Cody took on the sheep judging, Caden and Zara the shearing, and Jesse and Leah the wool handling. The group placed first in shearing and wool handling, and second in sheep judging, but amassed enough points to take the overall title against WA College of Agriculture students from respective schools at Denmark, Narrogin and Harvey. Speaking to Countryman after the competition, 17-year-old Bevan said the team enjoyed the friendly rivalry between schools. He grew up on a broadacre farm at Esperance with no sheep, and said he had loved learning about livestock during his two years at the Wheatbelt-based school. “It was a good competition , we enjoyed it,” Bevan said. “It’s always good to see how we stand against other schools and what their strong points are.” A big part of the competition is providing students with the opportunity to receive advice from leading trainers, with WA shearing legend Don Boyle and AWI shearing industry development co-ordinator Jim Murray both on hand. Two students were required to shear one sheep each, while a separate two students from the same team sorted the wool. The final two students were then required to take part in a ewe selecting contest, overseen by a professional sheep classer. They assessed nine Merino ewe hoggets and selected a top, middle and bottom group of three — judging the flock on their evenness, quality and quantity of wool and conformation — before being assessed for their ability to place sheep in the correct order. Each student was scored individually, before their points were tallied together to form the winning team.