Young Naracoorte woolclasser Sarah Haynes may only have her stencil on a handful of wool clips but she proved she has a big future in the industry.
The 20-year-old became the first South Australian to win the annual Australian Wool Exchange/TAFE National Graduate Woolclasser competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show on Monday.
Ms Haynes was selected to represent SA from about 40 recent graduates of Shearing Contractors Association of Australia's program and then competed against other woolclasser graduates from 2021 and 2022, chosen by their state's training providers.
The competitors were given three classing scenarios - crossbred, medium wool and fine wool clips.
Ms Haynes said it was a "big surprise" to win.
"I never thought this would happen, I am really grateful to all the trainers and mentors and everyone that has helped me along the way," she said.
"Some of my mentors have been classing for 40 years and still love going into the shed every day which says so much."
For many years her father Glenn Haynes ran a shearing contracting business, which she says sparked her passion for wool handling, often helping out during school holidays.
"Dad tried to keep my sister and I out of the sheds as much as he could but we both love it," she said.
Since gaining her professional woolclasser qualification late last year, Ms Haynes has been working for Robbie Crouch, A-Team Shearing Contracting based near Geelong, Vic, and has classed five sheds so far.
She is heading back to SA soon to class a 12-stand shed near Port Augusta for an improver school run by SCAA.
"Wool handling has always been a passion of mine but after (finishing) school, I missed the learning," she said.
"Classing gives you a different side thinking about numbers in bale lines and making the most money for the grower."
Ms Haynes' trainer Alie Tuinder,Kingston SE, received the Dennis Teasdale Perpetual Trophy.
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