There is nothing Miley O’Brien loves more than helping out with the cattle.
The enthusiastic nine-year-old, whose parents Gavin and Kristie run the Winchester Charolais stud, Orange, is keen as mustard to take part in her third National Charolais Youth Stampede.
But it’s not about claiming titles for Miley – she says she wants to learn and have lots of fun.
Miley says she has been helping her parents out with stud cattle since she was three years old, carrying empty buckets and hoses to feed and water the cattle.
These days it’s all hands on deck mustering, helping out in the yards, and even learning to clip a very quiet bull named Winchester Powerstroke – but to Miley, his name is Donkey.
She also helps prepare cattle for the shows, such as teaching them to get used to the blowers once they have been washed. “I want to give everything a go,” Miley said. “I like learning new skills.”
And according to Kristie, both Miley and her sister Isla, 7, have been around the sheds at shows since they were toddlers.
“They are very used to it. They’ve been around the Youth Stampede for years,” she said.
Miley also lends a hand to her parents when they show their stud cattle at Sydney Royal Show, including leading the cattle from the wash bays back to the sheds.
“I clean stalls, make their beds nice, and give them food and water,” Miley said.
I want to give everything a go. I like learning new skills.
Miley has already had a taste of showing this year, coming first in her heat in the junior paraders at this year’s Crookwell Show.
“I was so nervous. I was practically shaking,” she said.
And this year will be Miley’s third Youth Stampede, and she has already proved she’s up to the task after being named reserve champion peewee handler in 2016. She has also shone in the junior judging.
This year Miley is keen to learn as much as possible – and have plenty of fun.
She said she was looking forward to the games which are held on the first day of the stampede, which often includes being dragged around on a shovel by older children.
But she said one of her favourite parts was learning new things. “Making a halter for your cow is the funnest part,” she said. “I’m hoping to learn a fair bit more than last year.”
She will also be leading Winchester Daisy Duke in the peewee junior paraders – and competing against her little sister.
And helping out other children is an important part for Miley. “I like to help others,” she said. “I also want to help my sister.”
Kristie said there were many benefits for youngsters going to the stampede.
“Many of the things they learn at Charolais Youth Stampede can be put into practice in life,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter where you come, as long as you have fun and try your best.”
And as far as ribbons this year, Miley is happy just to see how it goes. “I hope I might get a first,” she said.