They may have dubbed themselves the Misfits, but a team of Kalannie, Perth and Dumbleyung locals strung together at the last minute proved the perfect fit at the Young Farmers Challenge at the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days.
The team of four blistered through the course at WA’s biggest field day in less than five minutes, in an impressive effort against five other enthusiastic rivals.
It came as a happy surprise, with the team — made up of Dumbleyung’s Paige McCarthy, Kalannie’s Zac Sanderson and Liam McCreery and Perth’s Mia Osborne — a bit of a last minute ensemble.
“We came down just to watch,” Paige laughed.
“But then somehow we dragged a team together,” Zac added.
Their team name “The Misfits” will now be forever etched onto the trophy, and the team shared in a $700 prize.
Run by the Royal Agricultural Society of WA’s NextGen committee — including WA Rural Ambassador Kelly Gorter — the winning team will be heading to the big smoke to compete in the State final at the Perth Royal Show in September.
A champion of the event and driving force in it’s escalating popularity in WA, Ms Gorter said it was great to see more and more shows hosting the challenge, which puts teams through a series of obstacles they may encounter on a farm.
The Dowerin event even went international this year, with a team of UWA Agriculture PhD students from India — some of whom had only been in the country a week — giving the course a shot.
“We’re really happy with how many teams we got, everyone was really keen and did well, so we’re pleased with that,” Ms Gorter said.
The teams were put through their paces sorting sheep tags and assembling a strainer post, among other tasks.
“We started with putting on PPE to show farm safety,” Ms Gorter said. “Then we had some load bars and an indicator and the team had to weigh themselves.
“They put some pipe fittings together, and then strap the trailer — so they had to do up a ratchet strap and undo one, then roll it up and sprint back to the finish.”
In a bid to grow its presence in WA, Ms Gorter said NextGen had set up a trailer with all of the equipment shows would need to host their own.
“The show can just borrow that trailer with everything in it and choose what they want and use it how they want,” she said.
It came down to Dowerin from the Midwest, following the Mingenew Midwest Expo on August 5, and was off to the Northam Agricultural Show on September 10.
RASWA counsellor Anne Stroud said they hoped to have a team from each of RASWA’s six zones — Great Southern, South West, Central, Coastal, Midwest and Eastern — compete at the Perth Royal Show on September 24.
“It’s a really great initiative and we’re trying to raise the involvement of youth in the agricultural industry and make it an attractive industry for young people to want to get into and be involved with,” she said.
The winning team will then be off to the national championships — the location of which is yet to be finalised — on an all expenses paid trip and a chance to win on the national stage.