MEPUNGA East dairy farmer David Croft has been named Warrnambool's father of the year after judges sorted through more than 1100 local entries.
Organisers of the annual Rotary Club of Warrnambool Father of the Year competition were flooded with nominations from primary and secondary-aged school children in the Warrnambool City and Moyne municipalities.
Mr Croft's son Joel, 7, from Nullawarre Primary School made the nomination with a hand-drawn picture of the father of three.
"I feel very humbled to be chosen from so many great dads," Mr Croft told The Standard after the announcement at the Warrnambool Bowls Club on Friday morning.
"I could think of many, many great dads who could've won this award."
He said spending time with his children was challenging as a busy dairy farmer but it was crucial to be a positive influence in their everyday life.
"You've got to make the most of what time you have.
"I try to incorporate spending time with children with what I've got to do.
"I often take Joel with me to feed the calves or get the cows in.
"Another thing I really believe in is letting your children know how much you love them.
"When they know you love them, they respond and they love you back, and they want to do what pleases you.
"It's all got to start with you loving them and then they want to do what pleases you.
"It's easy to be a good dad when you had a good dad."
Joel said his favourite activity with his father was kicking the football around together at home.
Mr Croft also won the prep to grade three category award. Other father and father figures recognised in different age groups were Shane Wittman, Craig Parsons, and Edmond Lefebure, with runners up David Stevenson, Gary Robinson, Cliff Watt and Todd Kairl.
Warrnambool City mayor Michael Neoh congratulated the event's winners and runners up, highlighting the importance of balancing work with quality family time.
"After a hard day at council or at work, coming home and the son says to you 'do you want to have a kick', it's tough but it's worth it to make that time," Cr Neoh said.
The Father of the Year event was developed by Rotary Club of Warrnambool in conjunction with the Men's Family Relationships Program at Brophy Family and Youth Services to recognise and promote local fathers and father figures who are positive role models for their children and the community.