THE King family, Darkan, continued its reign of success in wool judging competitions throughout WA, by taking out the grand champion fleece award at this year's Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama.
Their supremacy in recent years has included supreme fleece titles at the Perth Royal Show in 2018 and 2019 and it may well have been three in a row for their Rangeview stud had COVID-19 not forced the cancellation of last year's event.
But Perth's bad luck may have proven to be Wagin's windfall, with all of the family's 2020 fleeces - six in total - being shown at Woolorama, in what was their 15th appearance in the Wagin wool shed.
The day's supreme fleece, also the champion medium wool fleece, beat 120 others to claim the top mantle after amassing 94 points.
But it was a close contest with two other fleeces - the champion fine wool fleece from the Westerdale stud, McAlinden and the champion strong wool fleece from AuburnValley stud, Williams, both just one point away from dominance on 93 points.
Rangeview co-principal Jeremy King said the section topper was off a stud reserve, Rangeview 700.
"We rate him as one of the better Poll rams we've bred and he's out in the paddock working right now," Mr King said.
"I always thought he had a pretty good fleece and when I shore him, his belly was very good and very even and it carried right through.
"But to tell you the truth I actually thought our fine wool fleece was the best in our team."
The grand champion fleece scored maximum points for density and soundness and near perfect marks for evenness, length, handle and colour.
In total the Kings entered six fleeces, four from rams and two from ewes, and it was another ram's fleece, this time superfine, which was the judges other pick for a champion ribbon.
On 91 points, that supersoft bundle was off Rangeview 180, their champion superfine wool Merino ram from the 2020 Wagin Woolorama and whose dam was a former Woolorama fine wool champion ewe.
"He was always a real personality in the shed and sold as Lot 1 in our on-property sale last year to the Berlotti family, Boscabel," Mr King said.
Head judge Tim Chapman said the supreme fleece had excellent style, soft handle, was very even and had exceptional weight for a medium wool fleece.
"It's an ideal fleece for breeding purposes," Mr Chapman said.
Weight has been a key criteria as a profitability driver for the Kings and Mr King has been a passionate advocate for its importance in wool judging assessments.
Mr Chapman said Rangeview's superfine fleece also showed excellent style, good staple length and great weight, brightness and textile strength.
He said overall the quality of the fleeces this year had been of a high standard evoking some close contests at the top end in the stud section with just a few points separating several fleeces and some magnificent weights and style in the farmer's non-stud section which belied the dry finish to the season.
A return to Wagin Woolorama wool shed after a seven-year absence paid dividends for Westerdale stud co-principal Peter Jackson, McAlinden, who came up trumps in the fine wool section, just one point behind the grand champion with a tally of 93.
Mr Jackson said the fleece was off a home-bred Poll ram which went back to Yarrawonga bloodlines.
The stud reserve was judged champion fine wool Poll Merino ram at last year's Katanning Sheep Show and Ram Sale.
Also pipped by a point for the grand championship with their strong wool fleece, the same fate they suffered last year but with a medium wool fleece, was the Rintoul family, Auburn Valley stud, Williams, who entered 14 fleeces.
Their Polled AI bred son of a Pooginook sire, which like others is a stud reserve currently doing his mating duties in the paddock, was the reserve champion strong wool Polled ram at the 2020 Katanning Sheep Show and Ram Sale.
The champion pair of fleeces was awarded to Michael and James Campbell's Coromandel stud, Gairdner, with two stud ewe hogget fleeces, while most points in the section was won by Ray Lewis and family, Lewisdale stud, Wickepin, which entered 16 fleeces to celebrate 40 years of showing at Woolorama.
In the non-stud section it was a fleece from the Esperance Farm Training Centre, Esperance, which caught the judges eye to claim champion medium wool and overall champion non-stud fleece with a score of 92 points.
The fleece was the only one entered in the judging by the Esperance Farm Training Centre and was off a ewe based on Penrose stud, Esperance, bloodlines.
The Western Australia College of Agriculture, Denmark, exhibited the champion fine wool fleece non-stud with a fleece off a three-year-old ewe based on Rangeview bloodlines, one of five fleeces entered by the college.
The champion superfine non-stud fleece was exhibited by W Pritchard, the strong wool champion by Peter Cumming, who also won most points non-stud and the pair of fleeces non-stud was won by G & R King, Darkan.
Judges in the wool section were Tim Chapman, Sam Howie, Peter Pagoda and Nick Moulden, all Dyson Jones, Warren Holt, Nutrien Wool, Travis King and Sarah Buscumb, Elders, Colin Hunt, Peter Scanlan Wools and Tony Collins, Wool Agency.
Major sponsors of the wool section were Country Wide Insurance Brokers and Tanks West.
- See more fleece competition photographs and details in this Thursday's edition of Farm Weekly.