FINER-WOOLLED rams led the charge at this year's PIBA Katanning ram sale where $10,500 was top twice last Friday. Slightly stronger-woolled rams were overlooked to a degree, although buyers were reminded that there should be some strength in the wools otherwise there's a danger of breeding the wool off the sheep. In a sale far better than many expected, there was an 80 per cent clearance compared with a 64pc clearance last year and the gross was $19,400 better than 1999 (with an extra 11 rams sold this year). All this in a year where the season has been nothing short of appalling in most areas and where the general pre-sale talk was that woolgrowers would have been far more active at the sale had the season been better. That being said, there was a better crowd at this year's sale and eager anticipation pervaded the atmosphere as Wesfarmers Dalgety auctioneer Dennis Roberts started proceedings on behalf of his company. (The two major players, Wesfarmers Dalgety and Elders, alternate each year as to which sells first. Sharing auctioneering duties on behalf of Elders was former South Australian stud stock auctioneer, Tony Wetherall, in his first WA stud sale). It was in the first stud offering from Lewisdale that the equal top price of $10,500 was first achieved when this year's PIBA Katanning Show champion Poll Merino ‹ and the Woolorama supreme exhibit ‹ was sold to the Olinda and Vandez studs, with Wesfarmers Dalgety's Preston Clarke bidding on their behalf. Preston was also successful on the other $10,500 ram, also a Poll Merino, this time from Kylie stud, Dudinin. He was buying on behalf of Hurstdene stud, Mukinbudin, a solid supporter of Kylie over the years. A total of 26 rams were bought for studs and the remainder by discerning commercial breeders Mention should be made of Yarrum Valley's top average, which was $9062, a good figure when it's realised this was over a four-ram offering, surpassed only by the $10,000 average for a single ram from Ray Lewis's Lewisdale's Merino offering. Other good averages ‹ for more than one ram ‹ were recorded by Cardo, which offered and sold five rams for a $3040 average, St Quentin, which offered and sold six rams for a $3333 average, and Woodyarrup, which offered and sold three rams for a $6667 average. Kylie's three Poll Merinos averaged an excellent $7083, while Woolkabin's three Poll Merinos fetched a $4083 average. Selling most rams on sale day was Angenup ‹ a total of eight rams sold to a $6500 top with a rewarding $4156 average. This followed the Kojonup stud's tremendous success in the show ring the day before when the Norrish brothers' ram was sashed as supreme champion of the show. Kicking off the sale was the LEWISDALE Merino offering, where long-standing supporters Walyurin and Bruluc studs ‹ both from Dudinin ‹ bought a ram at $10,000. In Lewisdale's Poll Merino offering, Olinda and Vandez stud were jointly successful at $10,500 on the first ram, while Gary Tapscott, Elders stud stock, South Australia, was the successful bidder on the second poll offered, buying at $3250 on behalf of Graeme and Kerry Lawrie, Collandra North, Tumby Bay, SA. ANGENUP was first in the catalogue for Elders and top price here was $6500 for an HR44 son, paid by GL Jones & Co, Brickhouse stud, Cranbrook, with classer Russell McKay buying on their behalf. Arrin Park stud, Three Springs, bought at $5500, with classer Brian Faithfull buying on its behalf. Also at $5500, classer Peter Sanders bought an Angenup ram on behalf of Vinrose (half share), Belmont Park and Mount Ascot, Mitchell, Queensland (quarter share each) WILLEMENUP'S reserve champion Poll Merino ram on the previous day at the show was sold at $8000 to Olinda stud, Wyalkatchem. It was Willemenup's sold offering and was sold with full semen rights. Long-standing YARRUM VALLEY client Stuart Tohl, Kojonup, would not be bettered on Murray Groves' first offering, an 18.6 micron ram with a 99.5 comfort factor, and paid the $10,000 top price for that stud. Not far behind came Rex Measday, Subasio Downs, Wellstead, who paid $9250 for the second ram, while Nalyaring, Brookton, paid $9000 for the fourth ram offered. The four KYLIE rams were next to be offered, the $10,500 equal top price being bought by Hurstdene, with Preston Clarke buying on the Butcher family's behalf. Two other studs bought Kylie polls, Blairgowrie at $5500 and Rose Cottage at $5250, with Wesfarmers Dalgety's Kevin Stone buying on the Cooper family's behalf. Top price for BARLOO was $8000 for a 21.8 micron 99.1 CF ram, with Russell McKay buying on behalf of East Carinya stud, Kendenup. LC Talbot & Co, Corrigin, bought at $3750, while Allaneena, Northampton, and Spring Park, Mullewa, bought Barloo rams at $2000. LEWISDALE-CORRIGIN sold a Poll Merino ram at $2000 to G Storer, Koorda, with Brian Faithfull buying on his behalf and, after the sale, their team leader was sold for $4000 to K & L Thompson, Karlgarin. In the Merino offering, Lewisdale-Corrigin sold a 20.8 micron ram for $5000 to Glendawn, Pithara. Keen on the CARDO offering was Allan Hesford, Parklands, Perenjori. With Bruce Cameron buying, Parklands bought two rams at $5000 and $3500, the $5000 ram having been sashed as Woolorama and the PIBA Katanning Show strong wool champion. PL Cail, Goodlands, bought at $3000, while Barry Wilkins, Narbethong, Kondinin, bought at $1500. Rowland and Elizabeth Sprigg's EAST STRATHGLEN offering topped at $4000, the buyer being Garry Harrison, Wesfarmers Dalgety, Northampton, bidding on behalf of the Box family's Dowellen stud. MM & AK Ford, Williams, bought at $3500, while MR Edwards, Wagin, paid $2750 for the last ram offered. Kondinin stud KARINGAL sold two rams and were rewarded by prices of $5000 and $3250. SJ Trestrail & Son, Karlgarin, bought a son of McKenna at $5000, while client KW & JA Ball, Wagin, returned to buy at $3250. All WOOLKABIN rams went under the hammer, three polls and two Merinos, with the top price of $5000 being paid for the Patterson family's first poll offering. He was bought by client Graham Tonkin, GD & CP Tonkin & Son, Newdegate, who then bought the next Poll Merino at $4000. Heal Partners, Three Springs, bought the third poll at $3250. Top price in the Merino offering was $3000, paid by return buyers LR GT & IJ Simmons, West Brookton. Two soft-woolled AMURI CREEK ‹ including one with a 20.6 micron and 99.2 CF ‹ were bought at $3000 each by KA & KL Simmons. The Jacksons' SUNNY VALLEY rams were next to be offered, with the Old Sunny Valley stud, McAlinden, paying the top dollar of $6750 for a 19.8 micron ram. Sandalwood Farms, Borden, bought at $2500, while Yolander Holdings, Kojonup, paid $2000 for a 99.5 CF ram. Springhills' Max Wise liked the look of the first ram in the TILBA TILBA MERINOS offering and outlaid $6000 for the 20.7 micron, 99.3 CF ram, who weighed an impressive 140kg and showed great scale for this type of wool. With the equal second-best CF measurement in the shed of 99.7, an 18.3 micron Tilba Tilba Merinos ram was bought at $2000 by RM & MR Wallace, Narrogin, while Bruce Edmonds, Glen-Byrne, Calingiri, bought at $1500. DONGIEMON offered and sold one Merino ram for $2000 to PW & DL Ivey, Bodallin, with Preston Clarke buying on his behalf. ST QUENTIN had a good sale, with all six rams offered being sold to a $5000 top twice. These buyers were CR Thorn & Son, Kojonup, and A Starcevich, Muntadgin. San-Mateo stud's John Poett fancied the 20 micron 99.6 CF fourth ram offered and bought him at $4500. The Ash family's Allaneena stud ‹ which bought earlier ‹ bought one of Geoff Lewis's PALLINUP Poll Merino rams at the stud's top of $3000. In the stud's Merino offering, the best price was $2750 and was paid by Sandalwood Farm. AUBURN VALLEY offered and sold a single ram for $2000 to Wongamine Grazing Co, Northam. After a great day in the show ring, where it won the PIBA trophy for the best group of five sheep, HYFIELD finished off the week with the successful sale of both rams offered ‹ a Poll Merino and Merino. Danny Hansberry, Kojonup, bought the Merino at $2000 and SJ Reynolds, Murray Town, South Australia, bought the poll, with Wesfarmers Dalgety's Hugh Hardling buying on his behalf. KOLINDALE also offered one from each category (both with 99.3 CF), with the Poll Merino fetching Colin and Rae Lewis's top price of $5750. This ram was bought by Peter Dempster, Grass Valley, while the Merino was bought by TB Doney & Co at $2750. It was a great sale for WOODYARRUP, with Yorkrakine stud Cardiff buying at $9000 and Marella Farms, Bruce Rock, buying at $9500. The Dewar's last ram was bought at $1500, account Cobley, Geraldton, with Russell McKay buying on their behalf. Last, but definitely not least was the Ditchburns' GOLDEN HILL son of Tulloch. This ram with his tremendous frame was bought by Castlake Farms, Kukerin.