he 2017 National Finals of the Rural Ambassador and Young Judges Competitions were conducted in Melbourne in conjunction with the Melbourne Royal Show.
Firstly, congratulations and thank you to the committee of Victorian Agricultural Shows (VAS) for a well organised event. Thank you also to the Melbourne Royal Show for providing the facilities and venues.
Each Australian State, the Northern Territory and New Zealand are eligible to compete in the competitions. This year there were 56 competitors across all competitions.
The Rural Ambassadors were presented at a dinner with each entrant participating in an on-stage interview conducted by the MC. The winner, Justin Matthews from Queensland and Runner-up Emily Ryan from NSW are both worthy winners who will promote Agriculture and Shows at every opportunity.
Young Judges competitions were designed to educate the Judges of tomorrow. Most states run Show, Group or regional and State finals to feed into the National final. NSW alone has over 1000 entrants across the state each year. Competitions are run for Beef and Dairy Cattle, Meat Breeds Sheep, Merino Sheep and Fleece, plus Beef and Dairy Paraders. The ability level of the finalists is outstanding, often separated by only one point. Winners in each category were:
National Rural Ambassador Awards
Champion – Justin Matthews from QLD
Runner Up – Emily Ryan from NSW
National Meat Breeds Sheep Judging
Champion – Joanna Balcombe from NSW
Runner Up – Tracey Bennett from QLD
Third Place – Matthew Hill from VIC
National Merino Sheep Judging
Champion – Matthew Baker from QLD
Runner Up – Lauren Rayner from WA
Third Place – Sam Phillips from NSW
National Merino Fleece Judging
Champion – Caitlin Hepner from SA
Runner Up – Amy Hoogenboom from New Zealand
Third Place – Tessa Runting from VIC
National Dairy Cattle Paraders
Champion – Renee Anderson from VIC
Runner Up – Ryan Barker from TAS
Third Place – Tegan Afford from SA
National Dairy Cattle Judging
Champion -Craig Robertson from New Zealand
Runner Up – Clinton Keir from QLD
Third Place – Stuart Lehman from TAS
National Beef Cattle Paraders
Champion- Pyper Page from TAS
Runner Up – David Bartley from QLD
Third Place – Clayton Ray from NSW
National Beef Cattle Judging
Champion – Damon Englund from TAS
Runner Up – Christopher Muller from SA
Third Place – Amy Birch from QLD
We started using social media to a greater extent in 2016, where a live feed of the Meat Breeds Sheep final received over 4000 hits. Again this year Facebook posts of results as competitions were happening achieved a massive following and exposure to sponsors.
These competitions involve young competitors across the country in their local show and provide a supply of judges into the future. Interests have been sparked that lead to a career in agriculture. We are witnessing the future of shows and showing in the making.
Next year the National Finals will be in Adelaide in conjunction with the Adelaide Royal Show.
David Peters, Chair NCWG