Top junior Merino judge credits teacher with motivation

Zach RelphCountryman
Misty Rose, a Year 11 student at WA College of Agriculture — Harvey, with Royal Agricultural Society of WA councillor Ken Walker, winner Kurt Richards and judge Darren Chapman.
Camera IconMisty Rose, a Year 11 student at WA College of Agriculture — Harvey, with Royal Agricultural Society of WA councillor Ken Walker, winner Kurt Richards and judge Darren Chapman. Credit: Zach Relph

The winner of WA’s peak Merino junior judging event has attributed the victory to his school teacher, after claiming the sought-after sash at this year’s Perth Royal Show.

Kurt Richards entered the ASA Merino Sheep Judging Championships State Final on Monday, with a simple objective — to have a crack.

The WA College of Agriculture — Cunderdin Year 12 student, who hails from his family’s farm near Dowerin, has competed in a swag of top-tier sheep events, including the seventh National Merino Challenge held in Sydney in May.

The experience paid dividends during Monday’s judging event at the Claremont Showground’s Jim Horwood Pavilion, as the 18-year-old claimed first-place honours following his judging efforts.

Makayla Brice, of Edmund Rice College in Bindoon, finished second while Luke Pfitzner, of WA College of Agriculture — Harvey, rounded out the place-getters.

After snaring the first-place sash, Kurt said teacher Wayne Laird’s tutelage had spurred his passion.

“It was good to get the win,” he said.

“I didn’t think about it too much beforehand, I just wanted to come in a give it my best crack and see how I go.

“I’d like to thank Mr Laird, my teacher, also, because he has taught me most of what I know.”

Twenty-one entrants vied for this year’s Merino Sheep Judging Championships State Final honour and were given six minutes each to assess four rams and six minutes to assess four ewes.

The top five finalists were allowed two minutes to explain why they placed and judged the sheep in the order they selected.

Kurt placed the sheep and offered the closest assessment to competition judge Darren Chapman’s opinion, in turn handing him the win.

“I felt as if the ram I put on top had everything there,” he said.

“He wasn’t the biggest ram but everything else that he had was pretty much bang on.”

The Merino Sheep Judging Championships was one of eight junior judging State final sections held at this year’s Perth Royal Show.

The Royal Agricultural Society of WA will sponsor each State final section winner to represent WA in the 2020 national finals to be held in the Northern Territory.

A host show is yet to be confirmed.

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