2020 has been such an incredibly unusual year for everyone, particularly sheep breeders, and we have all had to find new ways to advertise our stock, genetics, and breeding potential of our rams. Through multiple 'virtual shows' that have been operating across Australia, I've had the privilege of having the trifecta; being an exhibitor, sponsor and judge. Through Silk Southdown's "Rona Sheep Show" in July, I was able to get my show fix through exhibiting a couple Poll Dorset rams and a ewe and received some really promising comments from young judge Lexi Thomas (9, Silk Southdowns). After I offered to sponsor the "2020 Rona Youth Sheep Expo" I was then invited to judge the Junior Section for the Judging and Handling classes, it was great to see such young people getting involved despite being stuck at home.
I'm 18 years old and recently graduated from Salesian College Sunbury. I registered my Poll Dorset Stud "Dianella'' early this year and was donated 5 foundation ewes from the Ferguson family at Mallee Park who have been incredible mentors to me and are always eager to offer advice and assistance. At Salesian I was lucky enough to take part in their stud sheep program where they run a Corriedale and Poll Dorset Stud which is what mainly led me into founding a stud of my own. After showing with them for a couple years I had the opportunity to mentor a number of younger students and it was awesome to show them the ropes and get them as enthusiastic about the show ring as I was. Their founding Poll Dorset ewes were donated by Patrick Flanagan from "Blauvelt'' who has also been an amazing mentor of mine and has taught me lots. In 2019, a few students, including myself, were lucky enough to take part in the Central Victorian Region's annual bus tour where we had the opportunity to visit a number of larger scale studs in SA. The trip introduced me to a number of the breeders in the region who taught me plenty which really contributed to my eagerness to get more involved with the breed. I'm really excited to get back into the show ring in 2021 and to get to know more of the stud owners and enthusiasts of our fantastic breed.