NO one was more shocked than Grace Burns at the Sydney Royal Easter Show on Sunday when she was announced as the winner of the young judges state final.
The Nimmitabel youngster came out on top of the field of 19 in the Royal Agricultural Society-NSW Agricultural Show Councils beef cattle young judges competition.
Up against other rising star judges from around the state, Ms Burns brought home the title to the Far South Coast and Tablelands district by wowing competition judge Rob Sinnamon, Yulgilbar Pastoral Company, Baryulgil.
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"I was very shocked, I wasn't expecting to win because there was so many good competitors and they all spoke so well," Ms Burns told The Land.
"There wasn't anything I really tried to focus on, just walking out there, putting an honest opinion forward and saying what I believe in.
"To be honest, it hasn't really sunk in yet, I'm still quite awestruck."
Participants battled it out across two phases, first competitors were first asked to judge lines of Speckle Park, Brahman and Murray Grey bulls.
From there, the field was narrowed from 19 to 10 and remaining competitors were invited to explain their decisions to the crowd and judges.
It was during this stage that Mr Sinnamon said he was most impressed by the youngsters, especially the top five place getters: fifth-placed Georgie Laurie, Walcha, fourth-placed Jade Smith, Koorawartha, third-placed Ellie Prior, Kempsey, reserve champion Freya Weismantel and champion Grace Burns.
"I think as a group of five place getters, it was quite close and those five were all very good at expressing their points of view about the way they placed those cattle," Mr Sinnamon said.
"I think it's very important that these types of competitions are about expressing those points of view.
"In my opinion, youth is the future of our industry and we need to continue to encourage these young guys and girls to participate in these kinds of events.
"We need these young people and it has been great to see the level of enthusiasm and interest here today [Sunday]."
Ms Burns will now turn her attention to competing in the national beef cattle young judges competition at the Royal Queensland Show.
"I'm really excited to go to Brisbane in August and mix it up with the best young judges in the country," she said.
"Judging means so much to me.
"I come from a farm, my grandparents had a stud and I'm really passionate about the cattle and fleece industries.
"I would love to judge or be an overjudge at Sydney one day and get further involved in the cattle industry and one day start my own operation."
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