THEY took the day off school to compete at the Ekka and now these Toogoolawah teenagers will have the best absentee note to hand to their teachers tomorrow.
Toogoolawah State High School students Taylor Williams and John and Olivia Delaforce beat 27 other school judging teams to be named first in the Interschool Young Judging competition by judge James Dockrill, Casino, NSW.
The trio are no strangers to the show ring, having competed in junior judging competitions for three to seven years each, but this win was the sweetest.
It’s only the school’s second year back competing at the Ekka after their agriculture program began to lose momentum.
Last year a team of three students, including John Delaforce, organised a trip to the Ekka themselves to compete in the team judging event and were awarded Highly Commended.
This year they went all the way to the top and hope it will be the injection of excitement their school needed.
While the school has about 270 students, only 12 are committed to their cattle club.
Last year they established a Droughtmaster stud, after years of persuading by passionate students, and won champion at the Gatton Futurity.
Teachers aide and proud parent Bianca Delaforce said they had attended Esk, Toogoolawah and Kilcoy show as a team and were slowly building confidence and momentum.
“The cattle club basically shut down and then three or four years ago they started it up again,” she said.
“It’s very good for a little school that is not very close to Brisbane and doesn’t have a lot of support.
“We just haven’t quite got to Ekka yet, that’s sought of the goal. We thought with these kids getting this, this might just kick start the ball rolling for next year.”
The trio said their steer order had changed a number of times during their ten minutes judging in the ring.
Olivia said there was a lot of discussion.
“We had it and they lined them up a different way,” she said.
“John was talking and we would say, we want to keep that and then he would say are you sure?”
Downlands College, Toowoomba, placed second while St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen, were awarded third.
Highly commended went to Churchie, PLC Armidale, Pittsworth High, Kemspey High and Coonamble High.