It was well worth the 4,155 kilometre journey from New Zealand to Australia for a 19-year-old award winning mover and shaker, as the up and coming agriculture industry leader took out the 2017 Royal Canberra Show champion junior judge title.
Heading across shore to gain experience as an associate judge along side New Zealand cattle industry leader, Derek Hayward, Cambridge, Lucy Collin, began her journey of training her keen judging eye just three years ago.
Her natural affiliation with the show ring led Ms Collin to taking out the Lady Isaac Memorial Scholarship award at the Canterbury A & P in the south islands of New Zealand in November last year.
Ms Collin judged Angus and Lowline cattle and competed in the cattle handling classes at the Canterbrury A & P, coming second behind a couple of Australian entrants, however she pipped the Australian competitors at the final post and took out the overall champion sash.
“The scholarship gave me the opportunity to attend the Royal Canberra Show - normally it’s the Sydney Royal but this year it was decided this was the event where we could get involved in the show ring,” Ms Collin said.
“It’s fantastic to be in Canberra and I just love getting out among the cattle – the scholarship money paid for me and my parents to come over here because it was important for me to have a support crew while I was here,” she said.
A keen equestrian rider as well as lending a hand on her parent’s property in the north islands, Rauriki Charolais, Dannevirke, near Hawkes Bay, Ms Collin’s connection to both the land and judging ring are strong.
“Mum and dad have always shown cattle and been on the farm, so agriculture has been apart of my whole life,” Ms Collin said.
“Every stock judging event I have been in to date, I have actually won - so I have been on a pretty good streak leading up to Canberra,” she said.
As the young cattle enthusiast continues to build her knowledge and skill set, as well as gain attention in agriculture circles across New Zealand and Australia, she said the opportunity to judge under industry professionals such as Derek Hayward gave her multiple insights.
“I gained so much knowledge on how to judge very different cattle in the same ring – having to put the supreme exhibits against each other for the breed supreme was a great learning experience because you are really getting down to the finer points of judging to come to a final decision,” Ms Collin said.
She said this depth of industry experience does not traditionally come from the junior judging events.
“It was really awesome witnessing Derek’s explanations as to why he comes to the decisions he does – I found it very interesting to hear the technical knowledge as to why he puts one exhibit over another.”
Her industry experience so far has led Ms Collin to understand international beef industries and how they differ from Australia, in particular the scale of Australian cattle breeds.
“The biggest difference between New Zealand and Australia is the shear size of the beef industry here – I didn’t realise there were so many cattle producers and different breeds,” Ms Collin said.
“They are pretty similar in terms of genetics but the Angus, Charolais and Speckle Park breeds are probably the biggest standouts for size difference - they are quite a lot bigger and more powerful here than back home - maybe it’s because of the different terrain the cattle live on.”
Ms Collin will now look towards September for when she returns to Australia to compete at the Melbourne Royal after winning the supreme champion cattle handler title at the Royal Agriculture Society Hawkes Bay Show.
“I just love being out in the paddock with the cattle and handling them - it’s such a great feeling and achievement when you can bring something that you bred at home and have it compete against other producers cattle in the show ring,” she said.
Young judge excels out of comfort zone
New Zealand university student and guest associate judge at the 2017 Royal Canberra Show, Lucy Collin, was praised by judge Leonie Ball, for her exceptional critiquing skills in the show ring during junior judging.
Eventually taking out the top title of champion junior judge, Ms Ball of Singleton said Ms Collin portrayed confidence and accuracy in her judging decisions which are key elements for a successful judge.
Competing against almost 100 entrants in the Royal Canberra junior judging event, it was a big step out of Lucy Collin’s comfort zone of a usual 15 entrants in her native home of New Zealand.
Ms Ball said she was impressed by Ms Collin’s ability ability to compare the line-up of animals against each other in her oral component of the competition.
“Lucy actually compared them against each other with their traits and why each one was put over the other instead – this is a great sign of a good judge,” she said.