WOOL at this year's IGA Perth Royal Show was as popular as ever with the curious eyes of young families walking through the shed to admire the display of fleeces.
But last week it was the judges strolling through the fleeces, inspecting the display with a slightly more critical eye to determine the champion and supreme exhibits.
All up 21 exhibitors entered 190 fleeces to be judged by Tim Burgess and Tony Alosi, Elders, Cameron Henry, Landmark, Graeme Luff, Primaries wool and chief judge Tim Chapman, Primaries.
This year, the judges awarded top honours to the McIlroy family, Glendawn Merino stud, Pithara, whose stylish, fine wool ram fleece was impossible for the judges to pass for the supreme champion fleece award.
Glendawn principal Darrell McIlroy said it was fantastic to finally take home the supreme exhibit sash.
"We work hard every year to produce the best quality we can, so it's a pleasure to have the efforts recognised," Mr McIlroy said.
This is the first time the stud has won the supreme champion fleece at the IGA Perth Royal Show which was taken home last year by Westdale-based Westbrook stud.
The supreme fleece was off a four-tooth Poll ram, sired by a Lewisdale-Corrigin ram and had measurements of 20.7 micron, 99.5 per cent comfort factor, 123 millimetre staple length, 55N/kt staple strength, 80.1pc yield, 12.8 kilogram greasy fleece weight and 10.3kg clean fleece weight.
The fleece which scored 95 out of 100 was also sashed the grand champion ram fleece, champion open ram fleece and champion fine fleece.
Chief wool judge Tim Chapman, Primaries, said it was a close finish for the top prize because of the high standard of all entries.
"The brightness, growth and yields of the fleeces were outstanding," Mr Chapman said.
Of the supreme fleece, Mr Chapman said it was a very high yielding white wool, showing great style, softness and handle with tremendous weight.
"Its objective measurements were excellent and demonstrated its high quality," he said.
Mr Chapman congratulated the McIlroy family on their efforts and said it was great to see such quality wool being produced in the Wheatbelt.
The reserve grand champion ram fleece went to Auburn Valley stud, Williams, coming in a close second to the Glendawn exhibit.
The fleece was off a Poll Merino ram the Rintoul family has been showing throughout the year. The ram was sired by Auburn Valley (DT4) whose fleece won supreme fleece at the 2013 IGA Perth Royal Show.
The Rintouls entered 25 fleeces in this year's competition, taking out the award for highest number of fleeces displayed and most points gained, backing up their wins from last year.
But it was the fleece scoring 92 points out of a possible 100 in the open Merino ram fleece class that walked away with the reserve grand champion ram fleece.
The Auburn Valley fleece measured 19.2 micron, 99.7pc CF, 136mm staple length, 71.1pc yield, 11.1kg greasy fleece weight and 7.9kg clean fleece weight.
Last year's grand champion pair of fleeces winner Tilba Tilba stud, Williams, took home the grand champion ewe or wether fleece, for a fleece entered in the superfine fleece class scoring 94 points out of a possible 100.
The fleece was off a ewe that traces back to a Koonwarra bloodline which Tilba Tilba stud principals Andrew and Stuart Rintoul said they recognised for good wool weight and micron measurements.
The ewe is from the same family as the Tilba Tilba ewe that won the ProEwe class at the Rabobank Katanning Show a few years ago.
The grand champion ewe or wether fleece had measurements of 17.3 micron, 99.8pc CF, 118mm staple length, 71.8pc yield, 8.7kg greasy fleece weight and 6.2kg clean fleece weight.
The reserve grand champion ewe or wether fleece ribbon went to Wannamal-based Boorabbin stud for a fleece entered in the fine wool class.
The fleece had measurements of 19.5 micron, 99.3pc CF, 123mm staple length, 73.3pc yield, 8.3kg greasy fleece weight and 6.1kg clean fleece weight.
Stud principal Iain Nicholson said he was really happy with all of the fleeces entered by the stud.
"Most of the fleeces came from last year's show team," Mr Nicholson said.
"It's hard to get sound fleeces off sheep that travel a lot, so with that considered we're really happy with the results."
Boorabbin also walked away with the champion medium fleece sash for a ram's fleece from the same family as the ewe.
The champion medium fleece measured 21.3 micron, 98.2pc CF, 114mm staple length, 72.1pc yield, 10.2kg greasy fleece weight and 7.4kg clean fleece weight.
Mr Nicholson said the stud was trying to increase its wool cut without impacting on quality.
"The wins that we'd had here are a nice confirmation that our strategies are working," Mr Nicholson said.
The farmers fleece category was dominated by last year's grand champion winners Ted and Bev Hill, West River.
Backing up their win from last year, the Hills secured the grand champion and reserve grand champion farmers fleece ribbons, the champion and reserve champion farmers ewe or wether fleece ribbons and the awards for most successful exhibitor in zone 3 and zone 3 overall champion fleece.
The grand champion farmers fleece had measurements of 19 micron, 100pc CF, 155mm staple length, 82.1pc yield, 9.7kg greasy fleece weight and 8kg clean fleece weight.
In the commercial fleece category, the grand champion sash was awarded to Norm and Jed Herbert, Tambellup, in their first time exhibiting in many years.
The fleece was off a ewe and it had measurements of 19.4 micron, 99.1pc CF, 75.3pc yield, 10.4kg greasy fleece weight and 7.8kg clean fleece weight.
The champion ultrafine fleece of the show was awarded to last year's supreme champion fleece winner Westbrook Merino stud, Westdale, scoring 82 points out of a possible 100.
The fleece had measurements of 15.3 micron, 100pc CF, 125mm staple length, 81.2pc yield, 5.4kg greasy fleece weight and 4.4kg clean fleece weight.
WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin, had two major wins with the school taking out reserve champion farmers ram fleece and grand champion pair of fleeces.
The reserve champion farmers ram fleece had measurements of 17.8 micron, 99.9pc CF, 111mm staple length, 70.5pc yield, 6.4kg greasy fleece weight and 4.5kg clean fleece weight.
The pair of fleeces that were awarded grand champion measured 18.6 micron, 99.5pc CF, 123mm staple length, 73.2pc yield, 9.7kg greasy fleece weight and 7.1kg clean fleece weight.
With measurements of 28.3 micron, 72.1pc CF, 121mm staple length, 78.8pc yield, 5.7kg greasy fleece weight and 4.5kg clean fleece weight, the grand champion Corriedale fleece sash went to Inlet Views stud, WA College of Agriculture, Denmark, along with the most successful exhibitor in zone 4 award. The grand champion Melanian fleece went to Ellie Eaton, Goomalling.