David to pick up the baton

Cally DupeCountryman
Wagin Woolorama president Howie Ward and incoming Wagin Woolorama junior judges steward David Lange.
Camera IconWagin Woolorama president Howie Ward and incoming Wagin Woolorama junior judges steward David Lange. Credit: Countryman, Cally Dupe

A former competitor is now helping to organise this year’s Wagin Woolorama Young Judges Championships in the hope of inspiring youngsters to pursue a career in agriculture.

Incoming Young Judges Championships steward David Lange has been learning from current steward Bryan Kilpatrick, and plans to take on the role next year.

Mr Lange works on both his family farm near Narrogin and a neighbouring property, with the hope of eventually returning to the home farm full-time.

He has fond memories of his five years competing in the Wagin Woolorama Young Judges competition, where he focused on the Poll Dorset section.

The WA College of Agriculture — Narrogin 2017 graduate said he had loved the chance to show off the skills he had learnt while at school.

“We had a Texel stud at the time, so the British breeds was where I felt most at home,” Mr Lange said.

“It gives the students a chance to compete in their craft, to be the best at it, and have something to show for it at the end.”

Wagin Woolorama president Howie Ward and incoming Wagin Woolorama junionr judges steward David Lange.
Camera IconWagin Woolorama president Howie Ward and incoming Wagin Woolorama junionr judges steward David Lange. Credit: Cally Dupe

Young Judges Championships outgoing judge Bryan Kilpatrick is teaching Mr Lange the ropes after holding the stewardship role for the past six years.

“It is great to have David on board, he has that youthful enthusiasm that helps things run,” he said.

“I really love seeing all of the students so keen to do a good job, and present themselves well.

“It is great to see the schools compete against each other in a good-natured way ... all of the students want to do the best they can.”

The annual competition attracts about 100 competitors from more than five schools each year to battle it out for a range of prizes.

There are four competition sections: Merino, wool, cattle, and Poll Dorset, with two categories — open and novice.

The novice category is open to teams of four competitors aged 14 to 17, while the open is available to individuals aged 18 to 25.

In the novice categories, teams of four judge and comment on the four sections.

Individuals are also assessed for the open category, in the Merino, wool and Poll Dorset sections.

In the Merino section, the winning school team will be eligible to compete in this year’s two-day National Merino Challenge in May.

They will also receive a $1500 travel assistance bursary from the Stud Merino Breeders’ Association of WA.

The winning teams from each novice section will be invited to enter the Young Judges Championships at IGA Perth Royal Show.

A range of prizes are up for grabs in both the novice and open categories.

Entry is free but the popularity of the competition means stewards have had to limit numbers of some categories.

Mr Lange urged entrants to polish up ahead of the event and enjoy themselves on the day.

“You want to look smart, and appear as though you are interested in what you are doing,” he said.

“At the end of the day, you are there to benefit from the event and learn ... so don’t be shy to approach the judges and ask them to explain things to you at the end.”

To find out more, visit the Wagin Woolorama website.

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