Nambour State High School keeps animal care alive for show
THE surprises of the Sunshine Coast Show were dressed in jeans and colourful gumboots in the dairy cattle pavilion.
Teenage girls brandishing blue buckets rushed at an arched tail to catch what was about to fall behind - with smiles on their faces.
Although farm life might be fading on the Sunshine Coast, a love of farm animals is not.
Twenty-six students at Nambour State High School work with cattle and horses as part of the school's show team.
Being part of the team means a commitment of two hours after school once a week, plus meetings and attending shows.
Year 8 students Sophie Alexiou, Namika Voigt, Piper Dutton and Katie Smith do it because they like it.
"We all come to different shows and have a great time," Sophie said.
"It's fun," Piper chimed in.
"And you meet lots of friends," Katie added.
The head of department, Sheldon Free, said students with no background in farming were drawn to the cattle and horses.
"Most of them are town kids. There's a few that come off hobby blocks," he said.
Mr Free said the students got a sense of achievement from working with and showing the animals.
"If you happen to be round when they are showing them, you see on their faces how much they get out of it," he said.
Show team captain Jasmine Burr said the show team had become popular with girls who wanted to prove they could "do anything as good as the boys, if not better".
Ray Pembleton, former head of department at the school and now chief steward of the dairy pavilion, said some students had gone on to work with animals.