A last-minute decision by South East handler Dayna Grey to enter the beef cattle young paraders state final at the Mount Pleasant Spring Royal Beef Exhibition on Sunday paid off earning her a spot in the national finals at the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The 23-year-old said she was convinced to enter by the nearly dozen other young competitors in Nampara Angus stud's show team.
"I make the kids do junior judging for their skills building and they know I hate the handlers so they pushed me to do it," she said.
"That is why I was out there in my Steel Blues (work boots)and dirty jeans."
Judge Richard Miller, Naracoorte, said Ms Grey was a "class act" among the 14 handlers in the open section vying to represent SA at the national finals.
"Her show attire is a bit questionable but nonetheless that is only part of it," he said.
"She was a clear winner, she nailed it from the start, her heifer is turned out impeccably,and whatever she did in the ring she always made the heifer look good."
But, Mr Miller said it was when the competitors were asked to swap animals in the ring that her talents shone through getting a troublesome Charolais heifer under control.
It is not Ms Grey's first big accolade in the beef industry- also winning the senior champion herdsman award at the 2019 SA Junior Heifer Expo.
She has been showing cattle since she was 13 years of age when she was attending school in Sheffield, Tas.
"Showing cattle is how I ended up where I am today, nearly 2000 kilometres from home and with so many opportunities in agriculture," she said.
"I really enjoyed the social side of it and learning and from there I attended shows and stock camps on the mainland, including the Heifer Expo.
Don't stress, the cattle can feel it through you.- Dayna Grey
"I came with Rebekah (Rushton) to Mount Pleasant Show for the first time two or three years ago and from there I held a heifer for Nampara who I have been working with ever since."
She says she tries to have a "cool and calm approach" to handling.
"Don't stress, the cattle can feel it through you," she said.
Earlier this year, Ms Grey started her own business, Next Gen Ag Services. She is kept busy sheep and cattle pregnancy scanning, as well as some marketing for ag clients.
Reserve champion was young Limousin breeder Phoebe Eckermann, Arumu stud, Korunye, with Ashleigh Whittlesea, Yankalilla, in third.
Mr Miller said it was great to see the enthusiasm among the handlers as young as nine years of age across the three classes.
"It is a credit to everyone that looked like they were out there enjoying themselves and doing a fantastic job showing off their animals," he said.
Young Judges state coordinator Jacqueline Francis said it was fantastic to hold state championships for both the beef cattle paraders and judges at Mount Pleasant rather than rely on results from previous years' competitions to select the 2022 SA representatives.
"We actually had more young judges than we have at the Royal for the last few years so I hope to see them all down at the Royal again next year," she said.
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