The Mount Gambier hoof and hook led steers competition held late last month attracted nearly 120 high-school students from across SA and from interstate, proudly showing their school steers and competing in handler classes.
Nine schools entered, from as far north as Eastern Fleurieu School, Strathalbyn, which was a first time entrant along with Casterton Secondary School, Vic.
Held just prior to the Mount Gambier show, the steer competition was a "low key competition" which was good for beginners, according to competition supervisor Danielle Westbrook.
She said the competition was also an excellent opportunity to foster connections between different generations involved in agriculture.
"The competition provides an opportunity for kids to have a hands-on experience, and it also bridges the gap between current producers and the future farmers that are coming through," she said.
Champion Steer On Hoof was awarded to Lindsay Pebble, a 528-kilogram Murray Grey bred by Lindsay Murray Greys, while the reserve champion was awarded to Borderdowns Predro, bred by Ian and Donna Smith. Both steers were exhibited by Grant High School, Mount Gambier.
Rellum Farms Zimba, bred by Rellum Farms, won Best Presented Steer, and was exhibited by Allendale East Area School, Allendale East.
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In the handler section, Eastern Fleurieu School excelled, with both the open and novice winners coming from the school, which was entering for the second time this year.
Amy Smith was named Champion Open Handler, while champion novice handler went to Chelsea McAnaney, Eastern Fleurieu School.
Anthony Hurst, Seriston Pastoral Company, Avenue Range, was judge on the day, Ms Westbrook said Mr Hurst commented that it was a tough competition to judge, with all steers presenting well.
"Because it's a wide range of schools, you see animals from different regions, and he was saying it was a credit to the schools that all the animals were presented to such a high standard," she said.
Ms Westbrook said she was already looking forward to next year, and hoped even more schools would take part in the 2020 competition.
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