There was plenty of interest in the rams at the 73rd Armidale Merino Ram Show and Sale, which kicked off in style last week with a Junior Merino Judging Competition.
About 65 students from Tamworth, Armidale and Inverell schools took part in the event organised by the Northern Merino Ram Breeders’ Association.
After registration, students were given sheep and fleece judging demonstrations – plus a few tips from experts and competition organisers Landmark wool specialist Angus Carter, Stuart Hodgson from AWI, over judge Greg Fletcher and stud Merino breeder Joe van Eyk.
“It’s fantastic to get young people involved with Merino sheep,” association president and principal of Alfoxton Merinos Chris Clonan said.
Kareena Dawson won the fleece competition while in second was Ed Simmons and third Harry Simpson (all from O'Connor), with Milly Sutherland (Macintyre) and Cameron Frear (Farrer) filling out fourth and fifth positions.
In the sheep section the winner of the under 15s was Billy Swain (Farrer), second Will Schmude (O'Connor), third Mitch Saxby (Farrer), fourth Jack Seis (Farrer) and fifth Eliza Boland (O'Connor).
In the over 15s, Cilla Clonan (NEGS) won the sheep judging, second was Tiana James (Macintyre), third Kareena Dawson, fourth Tom Carlon (Queenlee Merinos, Uralla) and fifth Rachel Westley (Macintyre).
The overall winner was Cilla Clonan and she will go on to compete in the junior Merino judging at the Sydney Royal Easter Show as the representative for the Northern Merino Ram Breeders’ Association.
To see more photos of the junior judging competition, check out this story: See who was junior judging in Armidale
She also had the chance to work as an under judge in the show ring with Dan Korff (Wagga Wagga) and Kim Henderson (Grogansworth Merinos, Bowning).
On the judging mat some of the top studs from across NSW contested the ultra and superfine classes judged by Dan Korff (Wagga Wagga) and fine and fine-medium classes judged by Kim Henderson, Grogansworth Merinos (Bowning) at what is one of the largest multi-vendor sales in the state.
Peter Lette, Conrayn Merinos, Berridale won the supreme exhibit with his champion ultra fine ram.
The champion superfine ram was exhibited by Alison van Eyk, Shalimar Park Merinos, Wollun, while Andrew Davis from Demondrille Merinos, Harden, won the champion fine wool ram and Murray Power, Airlie Merinos, Walcha owned the champion fine-medium ram. In the poll section Chris Clonan, Alfoxton Merinos, Armidale, won champion, while Sean Ballinger, Waverley Downs Merinos, Delungra had the reserve.
For more photos: Armidale Merino ram show and sale | Photo gallery