THE supreme grand champion award in the Merino judging ring at this year’s Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama has been given some extra clout with a $6800 4-wheel motorbike up for grabs as the major prize.
Long-time sponsors of the event Elders Limited and Farm Weekly have again joined forces to give added credence to arguably the most sought after accolade on the WA Merino show ring calendar.
Merino sheep section head steward Peter Foley said the sponsorship truly defined the quality of the Wagin Woolorama Merino showing and was a fitting way to reward exhibitors for their breeding excellence.
“We would hope this substantial prize will encourage an even bigger turnout of exhibitors and greater numbers of sheep shown,” he said.
“To help facilitate this we have brought back the fine medium category, which will add eight classes to the two-day judging program giving us a total of 44 classes”.
Mr Foley said last year a concerted effort was made to increase lamb numbers thanks to some generous sponsorship of a sheep feeder from UTF (Universal Feeders) for the champion lamb.
“We certainly got more lambs, which helped boost overall Merino numbers to 215 head from 29 studs, compared to 180 head the previous year and UTF will again sponsor this section,” Mr Foley said.
“But as some people rightly pointed out the value of the prize for the champion lamb was greater than for the supreme grand champion Merino of the show.
“This motorbike award allows us to bring greater parity to the weight of judging with the supreme clearly defined as the premier award and we are very grateful to Farm Weekly and Elders Limited as well as bike supplier Geoff Perkins, Perkins Farm Machinery Centre, Narrogin.”
The Honda TRX 250TM 4-wheel motorbike is a popular seller and an ideal farm runabout bike.
Elders stud stock manager WA Tim Spicer said Woolorama was a perfect forum for his company to show support for the WA sheep industry.
“The calibre of sheep shown here is always outstanding and this event really kick starts the sheep season in WA,” he said.
“Not only does it provide a showcase for the industry locally it also shines a light on the quality of the WA Merino nationally.
“Elders is very happy to partner with Farm Weekly in providing such a significant prize as just reward for such a prestigious category.”
Farm Weekly general manager Trevor Emery said Farm Weekly had a long association with Wagin Woolorama, with Elders and with WA Merino breeders so it was a pleasure to be involved with all parties in providing this substantial sponsorship.
“Along with Elders, we sponsor all Merino championships at Woolorama, but this motorbike prize takes the commitment of both our companies to another level,” Mr Emery said.
“The sheep and wool industry is in a great place at the moment so it is timely, in this 46th year of Wagin Woolorama, to acknowledge this.”
Wagin Woolorama president Tony Baxter welcomed the sponsorship effort of Elders and Farm Weekly saying it was good to see a trophy of this magnitude given to the top Merino of the show.
“I hope it will encourage more entries to help strengthen the section and our show,” Mr Baxter said.
Mr Foley said support from other sponsors, taking the total to 20 sponsors, had resulted in a strong prize pool for the section.
“Exemplifying our national reach, we have a new sponsor from South Australia in Rod’s Blocks, a sheep and cattle lick block manufacturer which will provide blocks as class prizes and free sample blocks to exhibitors,” he said.
“AWI continues to support our efforts and will again bring its promotional container and sponsor the Friday night barbecue for Merino sheep and wool exhibitors as well as shirts for judges and stewards.
“And AWI’s face of the western region, Graeme Curry will again be our Merino section compere over the two days of judging.”