A childhood dream came true for Red Angus breeder Angus Llewellyn last week as he was named the senior champion herdsperson at the 2021 SA Junior Heifer Expo.
The 19-year-old from Willalooka had often glanced up over the years at the herdsperson honour board displayed behind the BBQ area during dinner times at the Expo venue, the Adelaide Showground, and hoped one day he would get his name on the honour roll.
"There are people on that board that I have looked up to from day one as a junior and have been mentors to me and many others, he said.
"I remember looking up at big Nick (van den Berg) my first senior buddy when he won (in 2014) and never thought I would be as big as him but now I have won the herdsman too."
Mr Llewellyn - who was also the reserve senior champion handler - says it was a "huge surprise" to claim the coveted award in his first year competing in the senior section of the Expo for 18-23 year olds.
"I came into seniors thinking I would use this year getting some advice and seeing what areas I needed to improve and then hopefully have my chance in a few years time, I never thought I would win," he said.
Over the four days, the 28 entrants vying for the herdsperson title were assessed in areas including marketing, junior judging, clipping, stockmanship, tidiness of their stalls and their effort helping their junior buddy.
Mr Llewellyn's first Expo was in 2010 at when he was the youngest entrant at just eight years of age.
I have made a lot of contacts and three of my four closest mates are all from the heifer show.
He has been back every year since -except 2020 when the Expo was cancelled- exhibiting cattle from his family's Jillangolo stud or his own Jillangus stud.
He says his 11 years participating in the all-breeds youth event have been lifechanging.
"I have made a lot of contacts and three of my four closest mates are all from the heifer show," he said.
"I have grown in confidence with my public speaking and my abilities to handle cattle have grown enormously."
Previous herdsperson winners have used the $6500 scholarship sponsored by Nutrien and the Show Society Foundation to jet off to North America to experience their beef industry but due to COVID restrictions Angus will travel within Australia.
He is particularly keen to inspect Red Angus studs and visit commercial herds in southern Qld and northern NSW where there is strong demand for red bulls.
"I would like to go to up there and see the traits and type of genetics they are chasing. We may be able to breed bulls to supply this market," he said.
Reserve champion herdsperson was Chelsea Rayner, Upper Beulah, Tas, who has been to four SA Expos in the past nine years.
She described the education program as "second to none" with outstanding industry relevant speakers but also valued the great friendships she has made, especially in the last couple of years.
" We have then been able to catch up at Sydney Royal or Adelaide Show which has been nice," she said.
Ms Rayner hopes to use her $1750 scholarship for her first international trip.
Her plan is to visit properties on New Zealand's North and South Island next year after she completes her final semester of an associate degree of agribusiness.
"Their (NZ's) landscape and climate is very similar to have so a lot of the farming practices there we could utilise down there," she said.
Ms Rayner is a livestock agent with Webb &Woodiwiss Livestock Marketing and is actively involved in her family's Kidman Downs Simmental and Shorthorn studs.
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