School thrives at Melbourne Show
It was one of several awards won by the school, which also received the Champion Export Carcase and Marcus Oldham College trophy for the Champions School Carcase, on top of several ribbons.
Rutherglen High School teacher Ron Webb, who prepares the animals with the students’ help, said the school entered a few different competitions. This year’s bred animals were donated by Alpine Angus.
“There’s a paraders competition which is just the students based on how well they can handle the animals, there were judges making a live weight assessment as well and we actually got a champion domestic animal in that but it didn’t cut up as well as expected, then there’s the hook competition which is the most prestigious one and that’s where the animals are hung up put on a hook and the judges assess them,” Mr Webb explained.
Rutherglen High School has been entering the Royal Melbourne Show for eight years and have slowly built up from only having a couple of animals in the early days to this year’s 14.
There were three classes of animals based on weight, with the Rutherglen High School winning the Champion Export Carcase. One of the three winners of the weight divisions then became the grand champion carcase.
Mr Webb said the trophy, awarded for being cast as the highest placed school steer, was a “fantastic” achievement.
“Because we’re up against what you would call professional farmers, they reward the schools but we also managed to win the whole thing,” he said.
“It was a shock. You’re given a bit of a phone call saying ‘can you be at the rewards ceremony?’, but you’re not told anything about what you’re receiving.
“I thought when we were going down there that we may have won one of the classes, but had no idea we would be winning the whole competition.
“It was a surprise. I’m really happy for our two school captains Jemma Holmes and Jess Oates who did a remarkable job helping with the feeding and the parading. I am also happy for the Rutherglen High School because this is a big competition so for a small school such as ours – 270 kids – to come out on top overall is a great effort for the town and the school.”
There were 187 cattle mainly from NSW and VIC, ranging from agricultural colleges, private breeders and high schools.
The criteria for how each animal was judged was as outline by Meat Standards Australia, who take into consideration carcase weight, maturity, hanging method, meat colour, rib fat measurement, fat colour, eye muscle area, individual cut and eating quality too.
Mr Webb said although it is a competition, it is also a learning experience and was a good opportunity to gain some valuable feedback.
“The students will mainly benefit from feedback given from a paraders point of view and how well they’re able to handle animals,” he said.
“There are also different feeding regimes that each of the people use, so depending on how the results go depends on how well you’ve fed the animals.
“For example, some of the lighter animals didn’t have the rib fat colour that I would’ve liked, but we had four animals in the top 14 of the export competition which means we’re doing something good with the feeding. But from a feeding point of view I’ll be looking at what I was doing with some of the lighter animals and adjusting that.”
Mr Webb thanked everyone who had some sort of input into this year’s results, including Alpine Angus, Wellington Livestock, Le Martres Beef, Lance Luxford and Granite Ridge.
Rutherglen High School beat 187 other carcases to win the Grand Champion Carcase Award at the 2018 Royal Melbourne Show with an Alpine Angus steer.
Ron Webb (middle) was ecstatic with the end results for Rutherglen High School, which saw them take the top award at this year’s Royal Melbourne Show.