Host: Charles Darwin University, Katherine Rural Campus
Written by Madeline Harley
I should start with introducing myself, my names Maddi and I live in Katherine, Northern Territory. I work with for a feedlot company in Katherine that provide feed for the live export boats. I was born a station girl, my parents running large cattle properties for Australian Agricultural Company (AAco) such as Headingly and Wondoola in the Gulf of Queensland and Montejinni 350km south-west of Katherine. These were the ones I lived on but they have been on many more before me!
I must say, I have always wanted to write for Central Station but have never had any good stories. Until now! Beef Australia; the event that comes around every three years and is better each time! A friend of mine referred to it as the cattle Olympics, the competition of the elite so I guess saying we were Olympic Athletes is plausible … well, athletes for cattle!
Early on this year, there was an expression of interest sent out on why we would like to compete in Beef Week. The Katherine Rural Campus Show team all applied and waited to hear who was selected. A letter then came out not long after that announcing that Bridie Davidson, Georgi Harley and myself were selected. We were stoked!
Time flew from that moment on because all of a sudden it was May 7 2018 and us three girls plus the 8 other past and present students that got selected were seated on a 747 Qantas jet, flying towards the ‘cattle Olympics’.
The NT Crew with Angus, commentator for Darwin Show.
Arriving in Rockhampton, Queensland, and feeling the weather difference; it was all very real. We were there and it was happening. The first few nights and days passed quickly. We were working with Terry Connor, owner of Timbrel Brahman Stud, to improve our skills and to help him since the cattle from the NT were boarding at his stud. We owe so much to Terry for helping us and coaching us.
Vic, Mort, Stavros, Maddi & Georgi.
The day the cattle moved from Timbrel to Rocky Showgrounds was certainly a day to remember. There were cattle calls, slamming gates and yelling mixed with dust, a cool breeze and the air brakes of the body trucks. We quickly loaded all the cattle and away we went. Headed for the showgrounds where, unbeknownst to us, chaos awaited.
We arrived at the showgrounds; to be wrapped up in a flurry of cattle, rain, washing and wheelbarrows of sawdust and manure. We were quick to unload and settle the cattle, setting them up with feed and water for the night.
Competitions started with the commercial cattle judging, where Bridie Davidson and Brayden Simmonds had managed to score a place to comment and present their placings. The next competition after that was the Handling class. This day proved to be cold and soggy with a constant breeze and drizzle of rain, keeping the NT Mob on their toes. It was a great change and we loved it.
Although we all were working hard, we had moments like seeing Troy Cassar-Daley live and the Tug-o-War as our down time. Not to mention the endless amounts of Uno games! Long before we knew it, it was Brahman Judging day and boy did we do it well. We got some ribbons and found ourselves giving radio interviews, having our pictures taken and receiving high praise on how well we had done.
A particularly fun moment we all cherish and squirm at was the Young Farmers Challenge. Surely, we thought, surely, we’ll beat them all here. It was simple; run two hay bales from point A to point B back to point A; then attach a poly pipe fitting; tie a quick release knot and finally read a rain gauge.
Victoria and Maddi high fiving the plan of attack for the Young Farmers Challenge.
Now we thought, being from the NT; the only thing we’d struggle with is the rain gauge… the NT lacks on the rain and we don’t often have to read them. We used the basis of “holy shit it’s raining… won’t last long!” so really, we should smash this to the high heavens!!
Oh, how wrong were we! We had two teams from the NT. Team 1 had Mariah, Victoria, Georgi and I. With the yell of GO! We had hay bales over shoulders, that quickly fell; the poly pipe proved to be a challenge, we couldn’t bash this one with a shifter, then Victoria tied the knot and we all read the rain gauge just to be sure but we had lost. Somehow… we don’t quite know but safe to say the second team did just as well. It is a moment we rarely speak of but one we reminisce while we carry hay bales, fix the poly pipes or even look at our trainer Jess. The shake of disappointment paired with the giant smile on her face and the question of “What happened out there?” made us all aware we may have lost but we had fun and provided good laughs. No one would be forgetting the NT mob.
“I absolutely loved how there were so may different breeds of cattle and being able to experience it with such wonderful people; I couldn’t have asked for a better Beef 2018 experience.” – Morten Helion
“Beef Week is such an amazing event showcasing the best of what the beef industry has to offer, with fantastic learning opportunities for the young and old in all aspects of beef production.” – Kendall Nuske
It was such an amazing experience with an awesome crew! Cheers to everyone that helped out and made it was it was.
NT Mob are signing out!
Rural College Max, Maddi & his handler Georgi.