A love of Merino wool and plenty of time spent in the shearing shed on her family's property has paid off for Bordertown's Shania Cornish, who was named the state champion in the Merino Fleece Young Judges Competition.
The 19 year old's win came just three years after she entered her first junior judging competition at the Mundulla Show, encouraged by her ag teachers Helen Altus and Kate McCarthy from Bordertown High School.
This experience was a stepping stone to her competing in the 2019 state finals although that year she didn't place.
So on the weekend at Murray Bridge Show she was thrilled to learn she was heading to the Sydney Royal Easter Show next year to represent SA in the national finals.
"It seems a bit daunting but I definitely think it will be a great experience, getting to represent SA is big," she said.
"I enjoy being able to have my own opinion on the judging and build my knowledge."
Ms Cornish is studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Adelaide and is keen on either becoming an ag teacher or returning to the family farm.
Overjudge Francis Andrews, Bordertown, who is also the immediate past president of SA Country Shows, commended the interest shown by all the participants.
"The top two in the wool section were both outstanding but Shania's overall ability to select the right fleeces put her in front," he said.
Mr Andrews said there were excellent career opportunities stemming from participating in young judges events, such as being a wool classer or wool buying rep.
He reminded all the entrants to handle the fleeces carefully when assessing them for clean fleece weight, and qualities such as soundness, brightnesss and evenness, rather than "throwing them around".
"The sheep has taken six months to 12 months to grow that wool and the producer has taken a long time in the shed to ensure it is prepared properly so you need to treat it with respect," he said.
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