Cracking good time

LUCY ADAMS of Wakool had her whips cracking at the Kerang Show on Monday, with the prizewinning 12-year-old exponent demonstrating her skills, which belied the fact she took up the sport just three years ago.

Such is her aptitude, she was already competing by 2017 and has since won at State level in her age group.

Wrist and forearm strength are important attributes as well as the need for coordination, with Lucy's mum Tammy Adams suggesting in commentary that operating two whips simultaneously is a little like trying to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time.

The competitions in which Lucy competes are divided into three facets, these being accuracy, tricks, and freestyle.

As well as the risk of painful blows from an errant whip, callouses on the hands from holding the tools of the trade are an occupational hazard.

A brave volunteer Emma Wren of Barham stood still as Lucy's whips cracked either side of her.

"I trusted her, I teach Lucy," Ms Wren said.

Lucy explained how she came to take up the sport, which varies greatly from more popular pursuits such as footy and netball.

"I first saw it at Omeo in the high country. There was a local competition."

"Once she saw it, she'd plait wool and put it on the end of the stick," Lucy's mum said.

Lucy progressed to whips made of baling twine.

Ms Adams then told her daughter if she practised hard and managed to get a place at the Omeo Show she would buy her some proper whips.

That was no small promise, with kangaroo hide whips ranging from $800 to $2,000 a pair.

"Six o'clock every morning, she was outside my bedroom window practising, getting callouses on her callouses," Ms Adams said.

"That year, she took out the Omeo Show and that was her first competition, so mum had to eat her words and get her some proper whips."

Lucy has continued to improve.

She acknowledged her initial fear of being hit when she first started using whips, but has long since overcome that.

Asked what she enjoys about whip cracking, Lucy had a surprising response for one so young.

"It's more about promoting the sport and keeping the tradition."