DESPITE a cast on her dominant hand from a netball injury five weeks prior, 19-year-old Tegan Afford, Woods Point, still managed to claim the state champion dairy young parader title.
"It was a bit surreal having the competition here today but it is still huge to win it and represent the state, it's pretty amazing," she said.
"Usually this comp is at Adelaide and it's very tense down there so it was a very big change of scenery today.
"As the judge was saying you are splitting hairs between the people in the classes and it's nit picking the difference between all of us because we've been doing it since we were young."
Ms Afford said the competition usually has a lot of family ties, with her sister also in the class.
She said one of the best ways to learn more skills in animal handling was to watch other people.
"Keep trying, go in as many competitions as you can, go in handlers wherever you can, if you've got access to a heifer, practice leading them," she said.
"Get in contact with people that are in the older classes, we're all willing to help and our family has given calves to three schools."
Ms Afford said while this was not her first win at state level, there was still excitement.
"I've been to nationals before and its another level of intensity, I came third when I went last time and was the youngest in the class, I am still nervous though," she said.
Ms Afford is considering studying vet nursing next year, saying she wants to stay in an animal orientated carer and follow her passion.
Judge David Peglar, Sleepy Hollows Holsteins, Langhorne Creek, said Tegan was a very experienced handler who had been around cattle for a long time and was exceptional with what she does.
"She hardly put a foot wrong on the day," he said.
"I was looking for the overall set-up of the animals, how relaxed competitors are with the animals and knowing where the judge is at all times."
In the under 12 handlers competition, first place went to Reagan Mathew, Track Ayrshires, Mount Compass, second place to Tayla Atkins, Rosedale Jerseys, Valley View, and third Chloe Bailey, Geelunga Ayrshires, Meadows.
Under 15 handlers winner was Georgia Atkins, GForce stud, Valley View, second place was Kelsey Mathew, Track Ayrshires, Mount Compass, and third was William Phillpott, Torlea Holesteins and Ayrshires, Murray Bridge.
Charlotte Meddle, Unity College, Murray Bridge, won the under 18s class with Lewis Riley, Urrbrae Agricultural High School in second and Akaila Baltussen, Murray Bridge High School, third.
In the under 25 handlers, Tegan Afford, Billabong Farm, Woods Point, was the winner while second place went to Bridget Liebelt, Torlea Holsteins and Ayrshires, Paris Creek, and in third was Courtney Afford, Billaview Ayrshires, Woods Point.
- Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Sign up here to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.