It’s a wonderland at Wagin Woolorama

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Camera IconCredit: Astrid Volzke

The first major WA agricultural field day in a year kicked off in fine fashion on Friday, with farmers and exhibitors rushing to Wagin for two days of country fun.

Wagin Woolorama was blessed by lady luck for the second time in 12 months after the popular event — WA’s biggest sheep show — narrowly avoided the State’s coronavirus lockdown in March last year and in February this year.

Wagin Woolorama was WA’s last agricultural field day to go ahead on March 6 and 7 last year before the State was plunged into a lengthy lockdown on March 15.

This year, the Woolorama was blessed to go ahead just one month after the Perth and Peel areas of the State emerged from a short and sharp lockdown on February 5.

Wagin Woolorama Merino judging.
Camera IconWagin Woolorama Merino judging. Credit: Astrid Volzke

Woolorama president Howie Ward, who expects to hand the reins to the event’s vice-president Paul Powell later this year, said a total 20,000 people attended this year’s event across the two days.

“It was very smooth, the running of the event,” Mr Ward said.

“It has been a huge effort, unbelievable really. I think if we sit back and think about it, we will be pretty impressed with what we did.

“The weather was good, we had 10mm before the event so it was lucky it stayed so sunny.

“The entries were very strong, pretty much every section was at or above entries compared to prior events. People are keen to get out there and Woolorama is special.”

Mr Ward said Woolorama was the perfect place for “people to get out and about” again.

“I really want to thank all of our volunteers, there would be more than 100 people volunteering over 10 days around the event,” he said.

Entries were strong this year, with 210 Merino and Poll Merinos, 130 cattle, and 220 British and Australasian sheep on display.

There was hot competition in other areas of the show, with 260 poultry and egg entries attracting strong interest to the poultry shed.

The 1400-person rodeo sold out by 4pm on Saturday.

Mr Ward said the committee had been lucky to hold last year’s event, because two days later it “probably would not have happened”.

“The world changed, we had a meeting midway through the AGM and decided yes we will go ahead in 2021,” he said.

Wagin Woolorama's Poll Dorset competition.
Camera IconWagin Woolorama's Poll Dorset competition. Credit: Countryman

“That has been our aim from the start. There have been some questions about it, whether we are doing the right thing for Wagin by bringing people into town.

“We believe the town and the community needed it. You can see by the number of exhibitors that the whole industry needed it too.

“We are pretty happy and proud of ourselves that we have got it this far. We have been blessed by the weather and we are happy it is going ahead.

“The Shire of Wagin puts so much time and effort into it, they are a major sponsor.”

Wagin Woolorama’s longest-serving life member Maurie Becker opened the event at a sponsor’s function on the Thursday night, telling crowds his Woolorama life membership was his “proudest possession”.

“I thought of putting it in rhyme, but that was short lived... welcome to our village rare, big and small, young and fair. That was as far as I got,” he laughed.

“I can safely say I will be the first person in their 90s to open the show. My involvement covers some 66 years, beginning in 1955 when I was knighted on to the committee of Wagin Agricultural Society.

“I was involved in sheep stewarding for a while and then served as president. At the end of that time, two young blokes thought we were going nowhere.

“Then, Woolorama was born. Firstly, at spring and then in autumn and we haven’t looked back.” Next year’s Woolorama is planned for March 4 and 5.

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