Experience counts for unlikely pair
An unlikely pair who had not met until about two minutes before the event have taken out the first ever Experienced Farmers Competition at the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days in a display of speed, skill and humour.
Lachlan Chilwell, of Boyup Brook, and Ayden Lewis, of Scaddan, were enjoying a drink at the APEX Bar when they were approached by challenge coordinator Tiffany Davey, who roped them into taking part.
The pair had to buck a toy horse, identify weeds and soil samples, class wool and drive a wooden land cruiser over some hay bales, taking home $100 each for their efforts — which were carried out in front of a lively crowd at the APEX Bar.
“Our technique was to try really hard to win... I think making a fool of ourselves ultimately gave us more points, and ultimately made us quicker,” Mr Chilwell said.
“We had to buck out a toy horse, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. They have a lot of go in them, those toy horses.”
Both agreed the seed and soil identification task was the most challenging, with Mr Chilwell hailing from the South West and Mr Lewis from the South Coast.
“We got stuck on the seed, which is a bit embarrassing ... but we are not from the Wheatbelt,” Mr Lewis, who farms 7000ha at Scaddan, said.
Ms Davey said she hoped the two-team race would inspire more farmers aged to compete next year.
“The Experienced Farmers Challenge is a fun way to finish off a big Wednesday at Field Days, so hopefully this will grow in years to come,” she said.
The challenge was one of two farming challenges held at the event this year, with a Young Farmers Challenge attracting plenty of entrants aged 18-25 earlier in the day.
The event was held in the Machinery Demo area.
Teams of four took part in a range of tasks, including putting personal protective equipment, bucking out a toy horse for 30 seconds, identify some grain, soil and pastures, class some fleeces, clean a trough, ride in a wooden landcruiser, put up portable yards and race to the finish line.
The winning team, The Wongan Hills Drifters Hockey, won $500 cash for charity and $5000 to help them make the State finals at the IGA Perth Royal show. The team was made up of Emma Dougall, Kahn Crute, Emma Cleaver and Albie Bookham.
Ms Davey said the Young Farmers Challenge was popular with competitors, and all of the teams that took part at Dowerin could now compete at IGA Perth Royal Show and would go on to compete in the national Australian Young Farmers Challenge next year.
“Although it’s called a young farmers challenge the activities are selected to reflect everyday activities across the whole industry — all with a fun twist,” she said.
“The idea of it is to simply unite young people, provide a chance for them to get together and have a laugh and we achieved that. This year was extra exciting as it was a practise run for the state finals.
“In future years the winning team will get a place, but this year as its WA’s first year any team competing at the field days is invited to compete at the Royal Show.”
Ms Davey said this year’s Young Farmers Challenge had followed a Future Farmers Network and AgConnectWA networking event, providing a “cheer squad” . “The main objectives ... is to have a laugh and create a sense of unity among the next generation and I hope we achieved that,” she said.
“Courtney Garlett stepped into marshal the area this year, this is awesome for the Field Days as it’s the next generation of leaders coming through to contribute and play a role in the event.
“We are already planning for next year, we defiantly want to keep it casual but some awesome ideas are floating around so that’s very exciting.”
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