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Posted on Sep 14, 2015

McConnon Quinella takes out Young Farmer of the Year 

On Saturday September 12th, 29 year old Stonor resident William McConnon edged out his younger brother Martin to be named ‘Australian Chainsaws Products Rural Youth Young Farmer of the Year’ for 2015.

After 10 modules and with over 1400 points up for grabs, only 30 points separated the top two competitors in one of the tightest finishes in recent history.

Competition started at Quercus Park, Carrick; the home of Rural Youth Tasmania at 8am, with the paddocks still covered with a light dew and the air crisp. The first module of the day saw competitors visit the Bracknell Gun Club for the shooting component.

To make the finals, the McConnon’s along with the other 13 competitors, had to win through a Region Runoff held in July.  On Saturday all completed 8 modules including Fencing, ATV handling and a Home Economics challenge involving creative egg cooking to name a few. Later in the evening, at the formal dinner event, the field was cut to a Top 6, who then went on to complete in Public Speaking and a General Knowledge Quiz.

McConnon, a farm worker, has entered the Young Farmer competition many times since joining Rural Youth aged 17 and in 2014 finished runner up. 2015 was the final year in which he could compete and it was fitting that his final year proved to be his best, winning 2 modules before taking home the grand prize including a brand new ATV donated by Polaris valued at $9,000, as well as a new Stihl Chainsaw from Australian Chainsaw Products and welding equipment from Tasweld. The total value of the prize was just under $16,000.

Speaking of his win McConnon said “Agriculture is my life, I love it and doing a competition that reflects the challenges that people on the land face day to day is inspiring. It is a real confidence boost being awarded Rural Youth Young Farmer of the Year.” Will also paid tribute to winning alongside his brother and thanked Rural Youth for the great opportunities it has provided to him “I couldn't have asked for anyone better than my brother to be beside me as runner up, however being one up on him is nice… Rural Youth is a fantastic Organisation, I met my wife through Rural Youth and have been lucky to enough to travel courtesy of them too, without both of them I wouldn’t be who I am today”

His brother Martin was gracious in defeat, “There is no person that I would prefer to come second too then my brother…I’ll be back next year to have a another go” .

Martin took home $6,000 in cash and prizes for second place, whilst the third placed competitor Peter Damen of Kindred, took home a prize pack exceeding $3,500.

Competition Director Amanda Bayles spoke of the challenges for this year’s competitors, "All finalists were challenged out of their comfort zones with the various modules they were faced with but everyone single one of them had a go and learnt something from the day - I think I had just as much fun planning the day as the finalists did competing."

The competition was the most fiercely battled in recent years with only a handful of points separating 1st and 6th going into the Top 6 rounds a close finish was assured. 4 of the 10 modules saw joint winners. Region winners from the runoff stages were Martin McConnon - Northern Region, Dale Hayers - Southern Region and Brighid Worldon - North West Region.

Top Six

Modules Completed

Remaining Finalists

1st Will McConnon

Animal Welfare

Andrea White

2nd Martin McConnon

ATV Handling

Brighid Worldon

3rd Peter Damen

Farm Planning

Dale Hayers

4th Mikey Pearson

Fencing

Ethan Williams

5th Richard Petrie

Finance

Meg Kluver-Jones

6th Tobias TenBensel

Home Economics

Phillipa Green

 

Target Shooting

Ricky Edson

 

Sheep Crutching

Ryan Langley

 

Water and Irrigation

Sam Larder