It was a battle of the sexes as winners of the second annual SRS® Classic Shearing Encouragement Awards were announced at the Dubbo Show.
Such was the quality of entrants, the judging panel could not separate the joint winners of the best up-and-coming shearer in the region, Emma Billet of Trangie and David Gordon of Dubbo. Rianne Miles of Gilgandra took out the wool handler gong.
Emma has been shearing for two years and was recently involved in the first all-female shearing team.
She is a clean and efficient shearer who is getting more skillful and quicker with every day she shears.
Emma is keen to promote more women in the industry and rates her involvement in the all-female team as one of the best things she has done. She currently shears about 120 SRS® type plain-bodied sheep per day.
The awards, which are an initiative of the local SRS® Classic Ram Selling Group, were presented as part of the Invitational Parkdale Teams Shearing Event between New Zealand and NSW.
They aim to help talented young shearers and wool handlers get ahead at a time when skilled labour shortages are becoming a real issue in the industry.
SRS® Classic Ram Selling Group Member, Don Mudford, whose daughter Tammy presented the awards, congratulated Emma, David and Rianne for being recognized as the ‘young guns’ of the shearing industry in the Central West.
“With the Merino industry resurgent on the back of good wool and meat prices, we recognize the importance of supporting the next generation of shearers and wool handlers to ensure they stay in the industry,” Mr Mudford said.
“It is great to see more and more females getting involved in the industry with an amazing passion for shearing, wool and the industry”.
The recipients of the annual awards received an open order of $1,500 (shared between shearers) and $750 (wool handler) to be spent on much needed gear and TAFE training. Nominations were provided by leading shearing contractors in the Central West region and sponsors included Shearing Supplies and Muddy’s Quality Shearing.
Mr Jim Murray from TAFE NSW said that the timing of the announcement could not have been better. “It is nice to see the SRS® Classic Group giving young people in the shearing industry a leg up. Even nicer that the winners were announced on the same day as the Teams Event,” Mr Murray said.
The SRS® Classic Ram Selling Group consists of seven Central West Merino breeders who work together to promote the many benefits of SRS® genetics. They are Bella Lana, Boxleigh Park, Glenwood and Mumblebone from Wellington; GullenGamble from Yeoval; Hilltop from Mudgee; and Parkdale from Dubbo.