At the 2021 Sydney Royal Easter Show on Easter Sunday, young fleece Judge Nate Francis from Bindogundra, Parkes, was placed in the top eight competitors of a field of 16 contenders.
The over judge was Chris McDonnell from Gundagai, a wool grower, wool classer and a previous wool representative for a wool broker.
Mr McDonnell said the competition was "of the highest standard he has witnessed during his many years' association with the competition".
The event was postponed last year as the Royal Easter Show did not go ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sixteen-year-old Nate ranked two sets of four fleeces close to the placings made by the over judge and so qualified to give a two-minute speech justifying his judgements of the wool exhibits to the audience in the sheep and fleece pavilion.
It's not bad for a teenager who's training to become a mechanic.
Fleeces were graded on the characteristics of: handle, character, yield, density, colour, uniformity, evenness, soundness, weight and trueness to type.
Nate thanked the Royal Agricultural Show organisers for the opportunity to learn more about the properties of merino wool.
Nate was positive about the experience of competing despite the pressure of only having four minutes to evaluate each fleece.
He was grateful for the assistance he received from the Parkes wool growing and wool selling community.
He thanked Craig Armstrong from Kiah Merino Stud, Steve Chester from Quality Wool and Graeme Ostini from Ostini Wool for their mentoring.
Young judges are eligible to compete while they are aged between 15 to 25.
Nate hopes to qualify to compete as a young judge at future competitions.