Olympic shearing, sheep dog trials, or what about wood chopping’s inclusion in Brisbane?


The push is on to add a rural touch to the sporting line-up for the Brisbane 2032 Summer Olympics.

The World Federation of Merino Breeders has started a campaign to have shearing added to the roster, while kelpie breeders are pushing for working dog trials to become part of the Games.

Timbersports, which includes a range of axe and saw events, has also been proposed. 

Alongside the serious suggestions, there have been plenty of tongue-in-cheek ideas doing the rounds on social media, such as the shovel vault across the irrigation channel and the bogged tractor retrieval race.

Dog trials proposal

Angie White from White’s Kelpie Stud at Nyngan in New South Wales is leading a push to make working dog trials an Olympic event.

Ms White took to Facebook to promote the cause and received an overwhelming flood of support.

“Over the years my husband has conducted a lot of clinics overseas, the USA, Germany, France, the UK, and in that time we have gathered a lot of friends and they all jumped on and said what a great idea it was,” she said.

A kelpie stands, facing off with a huge flock of sheep who are facing the camera
Working dogs as a sport has become popular recently in Europe.(

ABC: Lucy Thackray


“I don’t think people realise how many people are involved in the sport over many countries.

“The Working Kelpie Council of Australia has representatives from New Zealand, USA, Canada, Belgium, France, the UK, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands.”

Ms White said she believed working dog trials would easily met the IOC’s popularity requirement, given it was a crowd-favourite at country shows and carnivals.

A high bar

It’s a lengthy process to get a sport added to the Olympics – first, the sport must be governed by an international federation and must be practiced widely across the world.

A man shearing a sheep on a stage
Speed shearing events have a strong following around the country. (

Facebook: ABC Western Queensland


It will also be evaluated against five categories, such as the sport’s image, its popularity and its potential to generate income.

After that, the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board can recommend that the sport be added to the Games, if it is approved at the annual general meeting of the IOC.

What if the Olympics were held by farmers?

While there are plenty of serious rural-themed proposals doing the rounds, there are dozens more light-hearted suggestions popping up.

Beaudesert agronomist Brendan Magee took to social media with a video of himself ‘competing’ in events such as the electric fence high jump, cow pat discus, rock picking shot put, and the ‘I’ve run out of fuel’ 3,000 metre walk.


Other ideas include shovel vault across the irrigation channel, long jump over the creek, the bag of seed carry, the 100 metre ‘the cows are out’ sprint, the bogged tractor and ute retrieval race, star picket javelin, a race to put up one kilometre of fence, fly swatting, and how many swear words in a minute when the sheep won’t go in the yards.

And, this journalist’s favourite – the marathon where the course is outlined by an old farmer out the ute window with the engine running and using vague descriptions like past the windmill and turn where Bill used to live…


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