Keep calm and carry on, says show champ
KEEPING calm in the show ring is the key to success, says national junior cattle handler champion Pyper Page.
Pyper, 17, recently beat competitors from across the country after earning her place in the national final by winning last year’s state championship at the Stanley Show.
Following in the footsteps of her older siblings, who have also been successful in handling, Pyper started working with cattle when she was about eight.
“It’s quite funny actually because I used to be scared of cows,” she said.
“Once I started working with them, though, I realised they’re actually not that bad and now I love them.”
Pyper has also been part of the Sheffield School cattle handler team and now enjoys helping out the younger competitors.
After handling miniature Herefords at the beginning, Pyper then moved on to Angus but her preferred breed to work with is Santa Gertrudis.
“They can be a bit temperamental and they remind me of horses,” Pyper said.
“The heifer I had last year was quite sensitive and she was a bit of a one-person heifer but I really liked her.”
Competitors had an hour to get to know their animals at the national championship before they took to the ring.
“That’s probably one of the hardest parts of it because you don’t get very long with them before it starts,” Pyper said.
Pyper was handling a young Red Poll heifer who was at her first show. “So she was a bit nervous and then we had to swap heifers as well,” she said.
“I had a pretty good run with the shows here, so I would have been a little bit disappointed if I hadn’t won.”
As well as working with cattle, Pyper said one of the other things she enjoyed about showing was the people she meets.
“When you go away to things like the nationals it’s a great experience and you meet people from a lot of different places,” she said.
This year’s Tasmanian junior cattle handler finals and junior judging finals for both beef and dairy will be held at the Stanley Show on December 9.