Jaxon Gillam, 22, grew up around his parents dairy cows and has since gone out on his own running 60 cows as part of a share-farm arrangement milking 300 cows.
He has been showing Holsteins since about 2013 and said the sense of community in and around the showring was what kept him coming back for more.
“The dairy people are a special group and I’ve made so many friends through showing cattle,” he said.
“I went to a show when I was 13 and spent the whole time watching the dairy judging – I didn’t want to be anywhere else.”
This was Jaxon’s first time competing in the national finals, but he had plenty of experience in the lead-up to this final.
“I’ve competed in the state final (in Tasmania) about five times,” he said.
“Over that time, I’ve learnt that the cows can sense when you are not calm, so my main technique is to stay calm,” he said.
Judge Jessica Gavenlock from Tallygaroopna in northern Victoria said she was impressed with the way in which Jaxon assessed his animal before moving to stand her up.
“He was taking note of what needed to be done before setting about doing it,” she said.
“The positions for second, third and fourth were also very close and it was the finer details that separated those handlers.”
The reserve ribbon was awarded to South Australian Tegan Afford, whose parents run a dairy about an hour from Adelaide. Her sister, Courtney, was awarded the 2021 National Dairy Paraders’ Championship judged only half an hour before.
Third position went to Victorian Abbie Hanks while the NSW competitor Alivia Lambkins and Queenslander Jerry English.