IT was a big day out for the Blight family's Seymour Park stud, Highbury, at the Williams Gateway Expo Sheep Show last weekend, when it claimed its second supreme title at a Merino show in WA since its establishment in 2003.
When the stud was announced as the supreme winner at Williams it broke the stud's nine-year supreme title drought with its last win being in 2013 at the Rabobank WA Sheep Expo & Sale at Katanning.
Like the West Coast Eagles, which were excited to get their first win on the board for 2022 due to numerous challenges at the start of the season with COVID-19, the Blight family was just as ecstatic to go home with the first Merino supreme ribbon for 2022 following the Wagin Woolorama's cancellation due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The classy sire from the Seymour Park stud made its impact felt in the judging ring at Williams and ensured a different name would be added to the supreme winner's list for the event.
The Seymour Park ram stood out from the outset with its superior wool and carcase traits and put the score on the board as it made its way steadily through the day's judging before lining up for the supreme ribbon.
The strong-woolled ram attracted the judges' eye early in the day and made its presence felt in the ring, in a similar fashion to the West Coast Eagles did on Saturday afternoon at Marvel Stadium against Collingwood, ensuring it could not be overlooked for the day's top award.
However it wasn't always easy going for the Seymour Park sire and as it didn't have it all its own way despite its impressive outlook and production traits, as it had to overcome 154 exhibits from 20 other studs before being sashed the supreme exhibit of the show.
Pushing it right to the final judging were two extremely impressive exhibits - an upstanding fine wool Merino ewe from the Rangeview stud, Darkan, which was sashed the champion ewe of show and prior to that it was the grand champion Merino ram from the Wililoo stud, Woodanilling, when they stood next to each other for the champion ram of show award.
When the Seymour Park ram and the Rangeview ewe lined up for the supreme judging, it was a tussle as the judges considered the virtues of both, however in the end the ram got the nod in a close contest which wasn't a unanimous decision.
When the ram was announced the Expo's supreme champion, judge Paul Norrish, Angenup stud, Kojonup, said it wasn't a clear winner as it and the Rangeview ewe were tremendous examples of the breed in their own right.
"They are both two magnificent examples of the WA Merino type and it could have really gone either way," Mr Norrish said.
"He is an exceptional ram and he stood out in his class when I judged that and I said then he would be hard to beat, but in saying that you would go along way to find a ewe as good as this ewe and she is a credit to the (Rangeview) stud.
The upstanding, four-tooth ram is AI-bred by Coromandel 419, which the Seymour Park stud purchased for $10,000 in 2019 at the Rabobank WA Sheep Expo & Sale.
Along with taking home the top award and champion ram of show title, the ram was also sashed the grand champion Poll Merino ram and champion strong wool Poll Merino ram.
When it was announced the champion ram of show judge Steven Bolt, Claypans stud, Corrigin, said it was a unanimous decision and it was a hard ram to fault.
"He is a beautifully balanced ram with good depth of body and good bone," Mr Bolt said.
"He also has a really productive skin and is well covered all the way down to his points in a quality strong wool.
"He is certainly a credit to the Seymour Park stud."
The ram earned the right to compete in the championship after initially winning its class for strong wool Poll Merino rams any age in front of nine other rams and when Mr Norrish placed it in first position in this class he said the ram was a standout and head and shoulders above the rest.
"He is a big, upstanding, well-built ram with a big strong muzzle," Mr Norrish said.
"On the wool front he carries a well-nourished, lustrous, true strong wool, but not only does he have excellent wool quality but there is plenty of it."
Standing in reserve to the Seymour Park sire in the Poll Merino rams and being sashed the reserve grand champion Poll Merino ram was a medium wool ram from the Jackson family's Westerdale stud, McAlinden.
When it received its reserve grand champion ribbon Mr Norrish said it was a beautiful ram and was unlucky to come up against a very good sire in the Seymour Park ram.
"He has a magnificent, stylish medium wool from head to toe," Mr Norrish said.
"I think he is going to be a ram to watch out for in the future.
"At the moment he is just that touch younger but I think he will keep going on and be a ram to look out for."
Westerdale's medium wool ram earned the right to compete for the grand champion title after being sashed the champion medium wool Poll Merino ram and winning its class for medium wool Poll Merino rams any age in front of 19 other exhibits, in the biggest class for the day.
At this point judge Jason Griffiths, Canowie Fields stud, Gairdner, said it had a good body shape and an excellent wool type.
"He is pure all over and has a great surface," Mr Griffiths said.
"He also has really nice lustre in his wool, which is a real breeding type wool.
"I think he will go on in the future to be a top ram."
The four-tooth ram is AI-bred by Glenlea Park 881.
Taking top honours in the Poll Merino ewes was the King family's Rangeview stud, Darkan, when it claimed the grand champion Poll Merino ewe title with a fine wool ewe.
When the ewe was sashed the grand champion Mr Norrish said the ewe was a unanimous winner.
"She is a structurally very correct ewe and is very well-balanced,"Mr Norrish said.
"In terms of wool quality you can't fault her there either.
"She has a magnificent, long-stapled fine wool which she carries all the way down and also she has excellent cutting ability."
The classy exhibit was also sashed the champion fine wool Poll Merino ewe after winning its class for Poll Merino ewes of any age in front of three others.
At this point Mr Bolt said it was an outstanding ewe with good whiteness and purity in its wool.
"She has good wool production traits and is well-finished underneath," Mr Bolt said.
"I think she will be a top breeding ewe for the stud in the future."
The two-tooth AI-bred ewe is by Rock-Bank Rafer, which was the Rabobank supreme Merino ram of the year at the National Merino Sheep Show and Sale at Dubbo, New South Wales, in 2018.
Standing behind the Rangeview ewe in the grand championship and receiving the reserve grand champion ewe ribbon was a medium wool from the Coromandel stud.
Mr Norrish said the Coromandel ewe was a very good breeding ewe.
"She has tremendous structure and bone," Mr Norrish said.
"She also has very good fine wool which has good stiffness in it.
"I think she will have a very good future."
The ET-bred four-tooth ewe, which is by Nerstane 22 and out of a Rhamily Benny blood ewe, earned the right to stand out in the grand champion line-up after it stood first in its class for medium wool Poll Merino ewes, any age in front of nine others and was sashed the champion medium wool Poll Merino ewe.
At this point Mr Griffiths said the Coromandel ewe was a large framed ewe with top medium wool and great productivity.
In the superfine wool ram class it was the Rangeview stud that came up trumps exhibiting the champion.
When it received its champion ribbon Mr Bolt said the Rangeview ram had beautiful balance and was well-covered in a well-nourished, white wool which is really crisp.
The two-tooth, AI-bred ram is sired by Rock-Bank Rafer.
In the fine wool ram the Seymour Park stud was at the top of the line-up claiming the champion and reserve champion fine wool Poll Merino ram ribbons.
Mr Bolt said both the champion and reserve champion rams were well-structured.
"The champion has very good softness and nourishment in its wool and it is well-covered right down to its point while the reserve champion has a great carcase and is well-finished," Mr Bolt said.
Both rams from Seymour Park were four-tooths with the champion coming out of a maiden syndicate mating and the reserve from a syndicate mating of Moorundie Park blood rams.
Along with exhibiting the champion fine wool Poll Merino ewe that went onto be sashed the grand champion Poll Merino ewe the Rangeview stud also exhibited the reserve champion fine wool Poll Merino ewe.
Mr Bolt said the two-tooth ewe, which was also by Rock-Bank Rafer, had outstanding wool production.
In the fine/medium wool Poll Merino ram class it was the Button family's Manunda stud, Tammin, that took top honours and exhibited the champion fine-medium wool Poll Merino ram when it won its class ahead of 12 other entries.
Mr Griffths said the Manunda ram stood perfectly and had a good sirey outlook.
"He has an ultrawhite, long-stapled fine-medium wool which shows plenty of style," Mr Griffiths said.
"He also has a good sirey head and a strong muzzle."
The four-tooth ram is AI-bred by Rhamily Benny.
The reserve champion fine-medium wool Poll Merino ram ribbon was collected by the Seymour Park stud.
Mr Griffiths said the ram had a good, white, long-stapled wool but just didn't have the sirey outlook of the champion.
The AI-bred, four-tooth Seymour Park ram is by Seymour Park 68.
In the fine-medium wool ewe classes, it was a ewe from the Coromandel stud that received the champion ribbon and when it did Mr Griffiths said it was a standout with a great carcase and a very white, lustrous wool.
The two-tooth, AI-bred ewe which is by Glenlea Park 30, earned the champion ribbon after finishing first in its class for fine-medium wool Poll Merino ewes, any age, in front of eight other ewes.
Standing in reserve to the Coromandel ewe and receiving the reserve champion ribbon was a four-tooth ewe from the Manunda stud, which Mr Griffiths said had an ultrawhite, long-stapled wool.
The Manunda stud also exhibited the reserve champion medium wool Poll Merino ewe when it finished second in its class for medium wool ewes any age.
Mr Griffiths said the Manunda reserve champion medium wool ewe had a quality wool like the champion from Coromandel, but just not its frame.
The AI-bred ewe was a two-tooth and was sired by Poll Boonoke Bobcat, which was purchased by the Manunda stud and the Kamballie stud, Tammin, in partnership for $70,000 in 2019 at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show at Bendigo, Victoria.
The Seymour Park stud exhibited the reserve champion medium wool Poll Merino ram.
Mr Griffiths said the ram had good length of body and a tremendous staple length.
The four-tooth ram was AI-bred and is sired by Willandra 447.
In the strong wool Poll Merino ewe class it was the Crosby family, St Quentin stud, Nyabing, that walked away with the champion strong wool Poll Merino ewe ribbon.
Mr Norrish said the champion ewe from St Quentin had really good scale and great carcase attributes to go with a massive wool cutting ability.
The four-tooth, ET-bred ewe is by Poll Boonoke Bobcat and out of a St Quentin ewe carrying Banavie 333 bloodlines.
The reserve champion strong wool Poll Merino ewe, which was exhibited by the Manunda stud, was also a daughter of Poll Boonoke Bobcat.
Mr Norrish said the four-tooth, AI-bred ewe had a lovely nourished wool, but just not the scale of the champion.
The Lewisdale stud, Wickepin, exhibited the reserve champion strong wool Poll Merino ram.
Mr Norrish said the Lewsidale ram had a heavy-cutting ability and a top carcase.
The four-tooth ram is a grandson of Seymour Park George.
The Seymour Park stud rounded out a very successful day by being announced not only the most successful exhibitor, but also the exhibitor of the champion ram and ewe pair in front of 11 other pairs.
By winning the pair class, sponsored by Genstock, the upstanding pair also won the right to be the WA representative in the national pairs competitions at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show in July.
Mr Bolt said the Seymour Park pair was the most even pair in the line-up.
"They are both structurally sound, well-balanced sheep," Mr Bolt said.
"They also both carry good white wools which have softness and purity.
"They are a fantastic pair and will represent WA well."
Second in the class went to a Merino pair from the Rangeview stud, while another pair of Poll Merinos from Seymour Park claimed third place.
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