Genetics pay for Rangeview with Woolorama win

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Wagin Woolorama grand champion fleece award winners Geraldine King, Melinda King and Jeremy King, of Rangeview Stud in Darkan.
Camera IconWagin Woolorama grand champion fleece award winners Geraldine King, Melinda King and Jeremy King, of Rangeview Stud in Darkan. Credit: Countryman

Years of careful genetic selection and breeding have paid off for the King family of Darkan, who have taken out their first Wagin Woolorama Grand Champion Fleece after exhibiting for nearly 20 years.

Rangeview Stud studmaster Jeremy King said the family was elated to take out purple sash at Woolorama, having secured many supreme titles for their fleeces at the Perth Royal Show — including back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019.

Mr King, who was celebrating the win with his wife Melinda and his mother Geraldine at Woolorama, said they were excited about the win after being “bridesmaid” at Woolorama a few times.

“We are lucky to have won Perth’s Royal Show fleece competition previously,” he said

“I thought this fleece was as good as those ones, so that gave me a fair bit of confidence.”

It was the quality of the Kings’ September-shorn, superfine ram fleece that gave them the edge, with judges scoring the fleece 94 points out of a possible 100.

The fleece took out the One fleece Rams, Superfine category, before the Grand Champion Fleece.

Judges gave it a perfect 16/16 for density and soundness, with high scores for character, handle, colour, length, and evenness.

The fleece — from a stud sire exhibited at Woolorama last year — had a staple strength of 49N/kt, with 19.8 microns and weighed 12.3kg skirted.

Mr King said it was a welcome win ahead of more than 100 entries after investing in top wool genetics.

“When I shore him as a young ram he had good belly wool, which generally means it will be quite an even fleece all over,” Mr King said.

“I shore him in September and was really pleased with how his wool came off. I think the judges liked the evenness of the fleece, and the real lustre and style.

“One of the judges commented in particular that there was a real lustre to the fleece.”

A third-generation farmer, Mr King said he had his family’s dedication to wool breeding to thank for the award.

“My father and grandfather really concentrated on wool, so it is about trying to continue that line,” he said.

“Having that depth of breeding behind the sheep helps to produce good fleeces.”

Auburn Valley Grazing Co stud principals Peter and Jeffrey Rintoul with their champion strong wool fleece.
Camera IconAuburn Valley Grazing Co stud principals Peter and Jeffrey Rintoul with their champion strong wool fleece. Credit: Pictures: Shannon Verhagen/Countryman

Auburn Valley stud principals Peter and Jeffrey Rintoul came just one point short of the overall Champion award, but were pleased to receive the Champion Merino Strong Wool Fleece sash for the second time in a row.

The brothers from Williams — who have been coming to the show for 30 years — said they looked for nice, white and bright wool, with some style in it.

Mr King said it was hard to guess which fleece might win.

“It has been a tough summer but the sheep have come good and have quite a bit of wool on them,” he said.

McAlinden wool grower Peter Jackson, of Westerdale stud, returned from the show with a red, white and blue sash for Champion Merino Fine Wool Fleece.

It was the first time he had put his wool on show in seven years.

Westerdale wool grower Peter Jackson with his champion fine wool fleece.
Camera IconWesterdale wool grower Peter Jackson with his champion fine wool fleece. Credit: Picture: Shannon Verhagen

“I’m happy,” he said. “We like white and bright and we’re in a high rainfall zone so it’s got to handle the rain.”

The students at Esperance Farm Training Centre also came home with their heads held high after a win in the commercial section.

A fleece from one of their Merino ewes — shorn and classed by students — earned a sash for Champion Merino Medium Wool Fleece non-stud.

“We have a commercial merino mob and we have the Penrose bloodline,” farm manager Crystal Henderson said.

“The students go through and shear them ... then went through and classed them. They were super excited, it’s good to see. They do a lot of hard work behind the scenes.”

Ms Henderson said it was a welcome reward after a tough year in 2020, when many agricultural shows were cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

“It was really hard last year, we did a lot of incursions and the colleges worked with each other and did virtual competitions so kids could still have a go... (coming to the Woolorama) was a highlight — this was amazing,” Mrs Henderson said.

For the first time, the competition included a local producer award which was taken out by Wagin farmer Bryan Kilpatrick.

Esperance Farm Training Centre students Aeishah Muir, 16, and Demi Bow, 15, with farm manager Crystal Henderson and their champion commercial medium fleece.
Camera IconEsperance Farm Training Centre students Aeishah Muir, 16, and Demi Bow, 15, with farm manager Crystal Henderson and their champion commercial medium fleece.

Wool Section steward Chris Piesse said the new section was designed to encourage local wool producers and attracted a big number of entries.

Lewisdale had the most number of points in the open class this year, with Peter Cumming taking out the most points in the non-stud section.

Michael Campbell took out the ewe or wether pair fleece award in the open class, while G&R King took out the same award in the non-stud section.

This year’s judges were Warren Holt from Dalgety, Tony Collins from Wool Agency, Colin Hunt from Scanlan Wools, Peter Bagoda from Dyson Jones, Nick Moulden from Dyson Jones, Sam Howie from Dyson Jones, Travis King from Elders, and Tim Chapman from Dyson Jones.

WAGIN WOOLORAMA WOOL SECTION 2021

Open Class (Merino)

One Fleece Rams, Superfine: Rangeview

One Fleece Rams, Fine: Peter Jackson

One Fleece Rams, Medium: Rangeview

One Fleece Rams, Strong: Auburn Valley

One Fleece Ewe or Wether, Superfine: Rangeview

One Fleece Ewe or Wether, Fine: JULewisdale

One Fleece Ewe or Wether, Medium: Lewisdale

Two Fleeces Ewe or Wether, Superfine: Tilba Tilba

Two Fleeces Ewe or Wether, Fine: Michael Campbell

Two Fleeces Ewe or Wether, Medium: Lewisdale

Two Fleeces Ewe or Wether, Strong: Dongzeman

Non-Stud (Merino)

One Fleece Ewe or Wether, Superfine: Victor Pritchard

One Fleece Ewe or Wether, Fine: WA College of Agriculture — Denmark

One Fleece Ewe or Wether, Medium: Esperance Farm Training College

One Fleece Ewe or Wether, Strong: Peter Cumming

Two Fleeces Ewe or Wether, Superfine: WA College of Agriculture — Cunderdin

Two Fleeces Ewe or Wether, Fine: G&R King

Two Fleeces Ewe or Wether, Medium: Peter Cumming

Two Fleeces Ewe or Wether, Strong: AL & CJ Hornsby

Local Producer

One Fleece Ewe or Wether, Fine, Medium or Strong: Bryan Kilpatrick

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