UNDER grey skies, it was a day when a black mark meant nothing but positives...when a black steer put its best foot forward for a super cause, the Black Dog Ride.
And a winning bid of $10,250 brought the house down in unanimous applause shining a big spotlight on a major societal issue and setting a $10,250 Perth Royal Show led and prime steer auction record price in the process.
Under the hammer of Landmark auctioneer John Wirth, who must have wondered when it would end, a bidding duel erupted between Harvey Beef's Kim McDougall and Borrello Beef's Michael Borrello.
Both were keen to show the philanthropic side of their businesses and support for such a worthy cause but it was Mr McDougall who eventually prevailed, turning the tables on last year's result when he wore the losing bidder's shoes to Mr Borrello at $3000.
"Harvey Beef and Minderoo Group (both owned by the Forrest family) are big supporters of charities," Mr McDougall said.
"And this was a perfect chance to highlight such a perplexing subject for society in general and the rural sector in particular."
The 436kg Kojonup-bred Angus steer with 10mm fat depth was donated by Landmark's Jamie Abbs and was selected from a draft of 70 head by his daughters Taylah, 10, and Noelle, 8.
It was prepared by Dardanup stud and commercial producers Peter and Judy Milton, Copplestone, Dardanup, who have annually donated their expertise 'in the name of the cause' to the preparation of Black Dog Ride charity steers since 2011.
For Black Dog Ride founder Steve Andrews it was an overwhelming show of support.
"The money is fantastic but the raising of awareness that this brings to mental health issues and suicide prevention is even more important," he said.
"These funds will be added to the $400,000 we raised in this year's rides to be split equally between LifeLine and Mental Health First Aid."
"Our contributions last year extended LifeLine's availability by four hours per day and we hope this year's contribution may help to increase it to a 24-7 service.
"And rural people will be interested to know much of LifeLine's recent take-up has been from their sector and from youth," Mr Andrews said.