Afford crowned as young dairy handler champ

Afford crowned as young dairy handler champ


Dairy
NZ BOUND: Judge Lisa McKay, Irrewillipe, Vic, with champion young dairy handler Courtney Afford, Woods Point, holding heifer Billaview Burdette Jazmine.

NZ BOUND: Judge Lisa McKay, Irrewillipe, Vic, with champion young dairy handler Courtney Afford, Woods Point, holding heifer Billaview Burdette Jazmine.

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A calm and collected nature has helped Courtney Afford, Woods Point, Vic, to win the title of overall champion dairy champion junior handler.

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A calm and collected nature has helped Courtney Afford, Woods Point, Vic, to win the title of overall champion dairy champion junior handler.

The 21-year-old, who won the senior class, was delighted to be named as champion.

"It feels really good, I've seen so many people I look up to win this, and so it really means a lot," she said.

Ms Afford is no stranger in the dairy ring at the Royal Adelaide Show, having entered the competition ever since she was eight years old.

She has been named overall champion once before, when she was just 13, but was too young to represent the state at a national level, and is excited to finally be able to fly the flag for her state at the national finals to be held in New Zealand next year.

Ms Afford has been surrounded by dairy cattle all her life, having been brought up on a dairy farm which has been in her family for four generations, and said she "loves everything about dairy".

"Everything is different, and the cows are lovely. I love being outdoors. My whole family has a passion for it, so I kind of just grew up with (that passion)," she said.

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She said it was important to remain relaxed when handling.

"The key is just to relax and enjoy it, and don't get stressed out, because the heifer vibes off of you."

Judge Lisa McKay, Irrewillipe, Vic, said Ms Afford was a standout competitor.

"She caught my eye from the start, I love the way she moves her heifer on parade with nice slow half steps," Ms McKay said.

"She shows a lot of style off with her heifer, and was able to fix those rear legs when I went either side of the heifer."

As a third-year animal science student at the University of Adelaide's Roseworthy campus, Ms Afford isn't sure what exact career direction she will take, but she wants to remain in dairy in some way.

"I'm thinking of either studying vet technology or animal reproduction (after I finish), and I definitely want to be involved in the industry for years to come," she said.

The overall reserve champion award went to Jackie Davies, Murray Bridge.

Shae Tweddle, Glencoe, took out the sub-junior class, winning an Ayrshire heifer as a result.

Angus Fraser, Victor Harbor, won the junior category, and Lucy Newman, Meadows won the intermediate class. Libby Fiebiger, Keyneton, won the Landmark Achievement Award, awarded to an entrant who did not place, but made a significant achievement in the competition.

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