QUEANBEYAN High School's cattle championship defence rests on the shoulders of three stocky young steers, Oreo, James and Perry, currently on exhibition at the Canberra Show.
After months of feeding, grooming and training, the steers were paraded and slaughtered at this week's Show, with students to find out on Sunday morning whether they've repeated last year's success and produced another grand championship carcase.
One of the steers the school is entering this year is the full brother of last year's champion, so agriculture teacher Ian Crabb reckons the students are in with a good shot.
"We'll be very competitive. We know we've got some good ones. We don't know what the opposition will have, but we know we'll be a strong chance," he said.
The school's agriculture students have been feeding, grooming and shampooing the cattle over the last six months in preparation for this week's Show, and have fattened the cattle with grain over recent weeks up to around 600 kilograms apiece.
They'll be entering two limousin-angus cross steers and one speckled park-angus in the Show's heavy export category, with the cattle sourced locally from breeders John and Steven Slater at Jerangle.
Mr Crabb said the process had proved an educational one for students, and was pleased to have already achieved a high level of success at the Canberra Show, by beating farmers and rival high schools alike last year.
"For a small operation, we've done really well," he said.
"We beat St John's College in Dubbo who'd produce around 40 steers a year and enter the Canberra Show, Royal Easter Show and National Beef Week. And we're just sourcing local cattle and we beat everyone."
However he said the most important thing was the experience the agriculture students derived from the process.
"It's all about education. If we have a show success, well, that's just a bonus," Mr Crabb said.