Agricultural Shows of Australia (ASA) today announced the seven national finalists in the prestigious annual Merino sheep young judges competition, sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation.

The competition brings together the best young Merino sheep judges aged from 15 to 25 in each state to compete.

Dr. Rob Wilson is chairman of ASA, the peak body overseeing the 572 agricultural shows in Australia which attract six million visitors annually and contribute nearly $1billion to the national economy, and says the competition is designed to recognise and support the best new talent in judging livestock nationwide.

“It’s an extremely prestigious event and positions at the nationals are keenly contested,” Dr. Wilson explains.

“These young people are the future of agricultural show competitions which are crucial to the continual improvement of Australia’s food and fibre. The national competition is a coveted opportunity to grow personally and professionally by practising skills against the cream of the crop.”

The national competition is held in a different location each year to promote livestock judging, parading and the industry as widely as possible throughout Australia. This year it will be hosted by Queensland Ag Shows at the 143rd Royal Queensland Show (the “Ekka”), Brisbane from 7-9 August 2021.

Queensland Ag Shows president Kerri Robertson explained that, in a Merino sheep judging competition, young judges assess four ewes and four rams against the standard of what is considered a good Merino type.

“The task of judging is a subjective one, based on selected production systems and changing market conditions. It is important that entrants are able to use their skills and articulate their approach. Our goal is to expand the knowledge and skills foundations of the entrants, helping them as youthful individuals to develop their careers,” Ms Robertson said.

Australian Wool Innovation’s Chief Operating Officer John Roberts says AWI is proud to support the competition.

“Australian wool has a bright future so it needs the best in the brightest to stay interested and involved in this great industry that’s why we are so pleased to back the annual Merino sheep young judges competition. And may the best judge win,” Mr Roberts said.

Overall there are nine categories for judging and parading each year under the ASA national competition program: beef cattle, dairy cattle, alpaca, poultry, Merino sheep, meat sheep breed and Merino fleece judging, as well as parading competitions in beef and dairy cattle.

Qualification for the national finals is via success in regional and state competitions.

  • 19 year old Kurt Richards of Dowerin will represent Western Australia.
  • 21 year old Will Hacker of “Roselea” Muckadilla will represent Queensland.
  • 16 year old Campbell Rubie of Forbes will represent New South Wales.
  • 24 year old Robbie Harper of Cheviot is the successful representative for New Zealand.
  • 24 year old Klay Smith of Cowell will represent South Australia.
  • 21 year old Ben Hartwich of Bullygrogran (Ararat) will represent Victoria.
  • 18 year old Sym Hood of Longford will represent Tasmania.

Previous national winners of the Merino sheep young judges competition include Clark Stackhouse (TAS) 2019, Adam Bennett (VIC) 2018, Matthew Baker (QLD) 2017, Lachie Brumpton (QLD) 2016, Charlie Brumpton (QLD) 2015, Felicity Brumpton (QLD) 2014, John Dalla (SA) 2013, Rick Wise (WA) 2012 and 2010, Ben Simmons (NSW) 2011, Henric Nicholas (TAS) 2009, and Ryan Weir (VIC) 2008.


For more information about the competition head to

ASA will issue a press release to announce the results as soon as they are announced. Media are welcome to attend the national finals.