Oz to hold sheep counting competition

Spectators and participants are expected to flock to Australia’s first ever national sheep counting championship on Saturday.

The competition is being staged in the remote Outback town of Hay, 450 miles west of Sydney.

Professional sheep counters, who work at auctions nationwide, have been busy in recent weeks as farmers facing drought sell their livestock.

The weekend’s event is a chance to add a competitive edge to the daily grind.

Sheep counter Mark Jacka said he has heard all the jokes about a job that is a vital part of country life.

“It sounds pretty simple, like anyone could do it, but it is pretty tough,” he said.

Under the rules, about 400 sheep will dash past 10 competitors at a time who will try to count them.

The contestant whose estimate is closest to the actual number wins.

Once the competition is over, Jacka will be back at work next week counting up to 60,000 sheep a day at the auction yards – as they arrive and as they leave.

“You end up counting 120,000 sheep. You sleep pretty well after that,” he said.

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