Reverend Brendan Smith of the Wonthaggi Baptist Church officiates at the blessing of the plough prior to the start of the National Ploughing Championship in Wonthaggi last weekend. M592019

John Robbins measures his plot prior to competing in the National Ploughing Championships at Wonthaggi last weekend. M582019

The storm clouds pass over Wonthaggi after last Friday’s dramatic hail and rain storm but competition in the National Ploughing Championships at Wonthaggi North continued on, Lindsay Hester of Colac taking more interest in his ploughing precision than the retreating storm. He ultimately placed second in the event. m552019

Ian McFee makes a nice ploughing pass in the vintage section of the National Ploughing Championships in his blue Fordson tractor at Wonthaggi last weekend. M562019

WONTHAGGI was in the eye of Friday’s wintry blast, copping a deluge of rain and hail throughout the morning.
But it didn’t stop the competitors in the National Ploughing Association of Australian’s annual championships on Cameron and Rhiannon Scheffen’s property at North Wonthaggi.
“We just kept on ploughing through,” said out-going national ploughing president Brett Loughridge of Poowong.
“We’re all farmers after all,” said a visiting ploughman, Pryde Inglis of Gisborne.
And despite the weather, they finished the state championships on Thursday and the national championships in good time on Friday and Saturday.
“It would have been better to get the rain a few days earlier, but it was starting to come good (the paddocks for ploughing) again on Saturday,” Mr Inglis said.
In all there were 22 competitors involved from most states in Australia, including Western Australia, according to West Gippsland Secretary Wendy Tilling, although locals ultimately dominated the awards.
Named national champion (conventional ploughing) at Saturday night’s presentation dinner in the Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club was Scott Loughridge of Poowong with 360.5 points across the two days, Friday and Saturday, only very narrowly from Adrian Tilling also of Poowong. While Scott was Mr Consistent, scoring two second places on the two days, Adrian scored an incredible 200 points for his near-perfect ploughing on Saturday, with the clear first place on the final day dragging him up from a distant third to the point where he nearly snatched the coveted Silver Plough Perpetual Trophy right at the end.
The other places were as follows: 3rd Wayne Clayton 335.5, 4th Rob Bayles, 5th Shaun Carson, 6th Ralph McGee, 7th Dan Custance, 8th Daniel Gladwell and 9th Morgan Waters.
The reversible national ploughing championship was won by Brett Loughridge 365.5 from Pryde Inglis 317.
The Trelleborg Travel Award went to father and son, Brett and Scott Loughridge of Poowong to subsidise their the travel plans to compete in the World Ploughing Championships in Minnesota USA in September.
In the highly competitive National Vintage Tractor Ploughing Award was won by 1st Russell Mehrtens, from 2nd Lindsay Hester, and 3rd Don Tomlinson, with Gerald Richings, Peter Gardiner, Greg Barry, John Robbins, Ian McFee, Kenneth Loughridge, and John Zouzel following on.