Selection for World Forum youth team spoiled for choice

Seeing 18 young individuals come together, make new connections and new friends was the best thing about the Generation Angus selection weekend at Oxford at Anzac weekend.

While the young people were competing for individual places within a team to represent New Zealand at the 2025 World Angus Youth Forum Competition, weekend organiser and host, Marie FitzPatrick from Timperlea Angus stud said they bonded as a group and had a great time learning together.

The 18 young competitors hailed from Northland to Lumsden  and many of them had not handled cattle in a show scenario before, so it was a steep learning curve for many, Marie said.

“They were meeting new people, learning to handle, clip and fit and show heifers, in addition to having a go at public speaking, debating and agri modules. We managed to condense a programme that would usually be undertaken over four days, into two. Consequently, it was pretty full on, but they handled themselves well.”

While a few competitors were from stud backgrounds, some were from commercial cattle operations, some had come through school programmes, and others were from urban backgrounds but very keen to learn all that they could. Many showed great aptitude for working with the cattle, and early on in the weekend they were assigned to a heifer to get to know and to learn the art of preparing, handling and showing.

Saturday also saw the teams do a series of agri modules including operating tractors, working with small machinery, operating a side by side, working through a range of general farm maintenance problems, fencing, vet scenarios with Amy Hoogenboom, a carcass module with Nancy Crawshaw, and a clipping and fitting module with Bradley Parkes and the Semex team.

Late afternoon saw a couple of hours dedicated to preparation for debating, guided by Donald Cooke from the Young Auctioneers programme and debating guru Rachel Simpson.

While Marie said the nervousness was obvious, all of the participants spoke and then relaxed into the evening over an Angus Pure sponsored meal.

Sunday morning was a whirl of prepping and clipping the heifers before the two Handlers Classes, judged and guided by Anna Fisher from Silverstream Charolais.

After lunch was stock judging in three classes; carcass, breeding heifer and weaner bull. All classes were run using RAS stockjudging protocols.

The aim of the weekend was to put the participants through a similar scenario as would be held at the World Angus Forum Youth Competition, to be held in Tamworth in May 2025. Eight team members have been chosen to represent New Zealand in two teams.

“The competition was very level and I know the overall spread of results was quite close” Marie said. “They all did extremely well and we are really proud of them.”

There will be further training opportunities held before the World Forum, in Christchurch in November, Gore in February and the North Island at the end of March 2025. Some of these opportunities will also be open to others involved in the industry.

All of the eight selected have also signed up to build their experience levels by helping their local studs over the 2024 bull sale season. 

Marie thanked camp parents and committee members Kath and Phil McCallum from Rockley Angus, in addition to other helpers Georgia and James Keeling, Colin Pettigrew, Helen and Peter Heddell (GLEN R ANGUS), Bradley Parkes, Linda Timperley for catering, all judges, and all other module hosts.

Some of the volunteers were past participants of the Generation Angus programme and are now giving back to the next generation, which is the way it works, Marie said.

The makeup of the teams was announced as:

Team Legacy

Caitlin Rhodes – captain

Nicolas Verry    

Dougal Gibson

Kate Campbell

Team Infinity

Tom Hayward – captain

Bob Johnstone

James Armitage

Hannah Devery

Watch out for profiles on the Team members in the Spring Angus magazine in August.