Samantha Hayward (17) from Picnic Point, New South Wales has taken out Australia’s top spot in the Agricultural Shows Australia young alpaca judging championship at the Sydney Royal Easter Show today.
Agricultural Shows Australia (ASA) staged the national championships of young judges and paraders competitions with finalists from each state of Australia and New Zealand.
“I was only 10 years old when I first got involved with the Menai High school ag team despite only being in year 5. One of my best moments at a show was in 2018, my family had just purchased our first 2 animals and we took them to the Alpaca Colourbration Show in Goulburn, they both placed and received a first and a third place,” Samantha said.
Runner up was Christie Hayward (19) from Darlington, New South Wales, third was Casey Sulman (22) from Orielton, Tasmania and fourth was Shara Perkins (19) from Risdon Vale, Tasmania.
Left to Right – Shara Perkins (TAS), Casey Sulman (TAS), Christie Hayward (NSW), Samantha Hayward (NSW), General Manager of Queensland Ag Shows Trevor Beckingham, and Treasurer of Queensland Ag Shows Monica Skerman
The competition is supported by the Alpaca Association of Australia. The alpaca judging competition is divided into four sections where entrants judge the animals’ conformation and their fleeces.
Judging is subjective, while there are characteristics about an animal to look for, what the judges pay close attention to is how clearly competitors express their decision and how they validate it. A competitor’s appearance is also important and judges can mark down for poor presentation.
The national championships are held in a different location each year. This year the Sydney Royal Easter Show, celebrating its bicentenary, is hosting the 2022 championships including the 2021 finalists who were unable to compete at Ekka due to covid cancellations.
The National judges and paraders competition brings together the best young judges and paraders aged from 15 to 25 in each state to compete at the national finals. Qualification is via success in competitive regional and state competitions.
Overall there are nine categories for judging and parading each year under the Agricultural Shows Australia national competition program: beef cattle, dairy cattle, alpaca, poultry, Merino sheep, meat breed sheep and Merino fleece judging, as well as parading competitions in beef and dairy cattle.
Dr. Rob Wilson is chairman of ASA, the peak body overseeing 572 agricultural shows in Australia which attract six million visitors annually and contribute nearly $1billion to the national economy. Rob says the competition is designed to recognise the best new talent in livestock judging 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.”
About Agricultural Shows Australia
Agricultural Shows of Australia (ASA) was established to promote the role and significance of Australian agricultural shows to the wider community. ASA’s vision is a strong and vibrant network of agricultural shows working together to engage, influence and promote the essential value of Australian agriculture. Membership of the ASA is made up of capital city Royal Agricultural Societies and state-based agricultural show bodies, together representing over 580 agricultural shows.
For more information about the competition visit https://agshowsaustralia.org.au/educational-resources/alpaca-judging/