Mitchell milks competition
SPENDING Saturdays with teachers and giving extra time to their studies would be a chore for many eighth graders.
Wise beyond his years, Monto State High School (SHS) student Kayne Mitchell loves dedicating his weekends to learning about an industry that could open doors for a future career.
"I don't mind it at all,” he said.
Mr Mitchell was one of 18 Monto SHS students who competed in the Young Judges and Handlers Competitions in the stud cattle area at Mt Perry Show at the weekend.
He took home first place in the Under 15 Young Judge class for prime cattle.
The students are taught how to judge cattle and what to look for as well as being judged for their own cattle and handling abilities.
"I was really happy to get that win, surprised actually,” he said.
He took home a blue ribbon and $15 which he said will be put in his savings account.
But it's not the title that Mr Mitchell comes to these shows for; it's the knowledge and networking opportunities.
"It's a good experience to prepare us in different ways for when we are older,” he said.
"All these people here could help us later on in life and we can learn a lot from them about the cattle industry.”
Mr Mitchell began leading cattle in competitions last year after joining Monto SHS Cattle Club.
The club is made of 34 students who give up three lunch breaks a week to gain experience learning about, and handling, cattle.
Agriculture Teacher Toby Worley says success at the competitions is a result of the students' dedication.
"The cattle are judged on their coverage and whether they are finished or not but ultimately it comes down to how the student presents the animal and how it is handled,” he said.
Mr Worley said he sees huge personal growth within the students throughout their time in Cattle Club.
"They learn a lot of life skills but they also gain a lot of confidence and that reflects in their school work as well.”
Although this is only Mr Mitchell's second year in the cattle club he has been around cattle his whole life.
"I used to sit up in the crowd when I was in primary school and watch the stud cattle competitions,” he said.
He puts his win down to his upbringing around cattle.
"Last year was my first year leading cattle and it can be really frustrating at times,” he said.
"Sometimes you might have a beast that plays up quite a lot.
"But it's about knowing the best way to handle them in those situations.”
Mt Perry Show Cattle Judge Stuart Kirk said all Monto SHS students do a great job at handling the cattle.
"I see them at a lot of the shows and they do really well, especially in the Young Judges Competition,” he said.
"You can tell they really want to be here as well, they enjoy it.”
Mr Kirk said it's not common to see small state schools with cattle clubs like Monto SHS has.
"A lot of the bigger boarding schools have clubs but it's nice to see a local state school thriving in the competitions.”
Mr Worley said it wouldn't be possible without the help they have from the North Burnett community.
This year they have received donations from Monto Veterinary Services, Monto CRT Store, $250 from locals Paul and Mia Francis, a steer from Girly Goody and grain from Riverina Stock Feed.
"The donations play a huge role in our cattle club continuing,” Mr Worley said.
"Without the community we receive we couldn't be out here doing this.”