Merino fleeces required for Royal Show judging practice

James Fox won the 2018 New Zealand Merino Fleece Young Judge of the Year competition in Hawke's Bay last year and is to represent New Zealand at the Perth Royal Show at the end of September. He is keen to hear from anyone who can provide merino fleeces to
James Fox won the 2018 New Zealand Merino Fleece Young Judge of the Year competition in Hawke's Bay last year and is to represent New Zealand at the Perth Royal Show at the end of September. He is keen to hear from anyone who can provide merino fleeces to help him practice. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
James Fox, of Invercargill, is keen to hear from any merino farmers who will allow him to practice on fleeces for his upcoming competition in Perth next month.

Mr Fox won the 2018 New Zealand Merino Fleece Young Judge of the Year competition in the Hawke's Bay last year and is to represent New Zealand at the Perth Royal Show at the end of September.

During the same event he placed third in the sheep and dairy cattle judging competitions.

Although he is grateful to a couple of clients who have merinos in Southland to allow him to practice his judging skills, and has been given other contacts, he is keen for more opportunities to prepare for the competition.

''I have a couple of months to get some practice in,'' he said.

The competition includes ranking four different fleeces and explaining why he put them in the order he did.

''I have had experience in North Canterbury with strong wool, but Romney fleece is quite different from merino fleece.

''Wendy and Leon Black, of Riverton, allowed me to practice and gave me pointers before I went to Hawke's Bay.

''I gave them a few pointers about who was going to win out of the Crusaders and Highlanders.

''I was lucky enough to come out on top at the time.''

He recently passed five accountancy examinations, and only needs to complete his three years of working within the industry to become a qualified chartered accountant next April.

''I wanted to get them out of the way first, so now I can focus on the next couple of months.''

From a sheep and beef background in North Canterbury, Mr Fox studied accounting at Otago University and moved down to Invercargill for work.

Now, at 23, he works for Findex, formerly Crowe Horwarth, Invercargill.

''I came down here for the job in April 2017, and really enjoyed Southland and the people and decided to stay a bit longer.

''I enjoy getting out on farms as it can sometimes be a bit of struggle to be at a desk on nice day, but the flipside is I am not outside when there is a howling southerly.

''I said to the [Findex] partners I wanted to stay around to see the Stags rugby team win, but I am still waiting.

''I had no idea it would take so long.''

He also is a member of the Grand Toastmasters Club, Invercargill, plays social netball for ''The Stragglers'' as well as rugby for Marist.

''This year has been a really good division two competition and we played a lot of country teams such as Wrights Bush, Riverton and Balfour, and it was really good getting out to some of those places and getting to know new people.''

He also belongs to the Thornbury Young Farmers Club and is also treasurer for the Otago/Southland regional committee.

''The club is very strong at the moment and we run different events, so it is good to keep that going and good to be a part of it.''

He competed in the Otago Young Farmers district competition earlier this year.

If anyone wishes to help Mr Fox he can be contacted on 027 6677-380.

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