Future face of Merino judging

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Wagin Woolorama Merino and Poll Merino steward Peter Foley and under judge Lauren Rayner.
Camera IconWagin Woolorama Merino and Poll Merino steward Peter Foley and under judge Lauren Rayner. Credit: Cally Dupe

There will be a new, youthful face at the Wagin Woolorama show grounds Merino competition this year.

In light of this year’s Woolorama theme, youth, vitality and innovation in regional WA, the Merino section has engaged Lauren Rayner, 20, as an under judge.

Ms Rayner will observe and help the one of the competition’s three judges to pick the best Merinos on display.

Growing up on a family farm at Brookton, Ms Rayner graduated from WA College of Agriculture - Narrogin in 2016.

These days, she is in her second year at Murdoch University, studying crop and pasture science with the hope of working in the agriculture industry.

Her previous judging experience includes under judging at IGA Perth Royal Show, South Australian Sheep Expo and the National Merino Challenge in high school.

“I would like to be a sheep classer... but I do love wool,” Ms Rayner said.

“I have judged fine and medium classes before, so I am looking forward to learning more about strong wool.”

Mr Foley said judges would be on the look out for the best sheep in WA.

“It’s a great time to be in sheep, with lamb approaching $7/kg,” he said.

“The State’s sheep are very even, we always give the judges of how they should look.”

Mr Foley said organisers were hoping for “as many exhibitors as possible”.

“Last year we had sheep from Northampton in the north and Esperance in the south,” he said.

In the British and Australasian Sheep Shed, 11 breeds will be judged, including Suffolk, Ile de France, Poll Dorset, Border Leicester and Dorper.

Each category champion will then go head to head for the title of supreme champion sheep.

The Hogg family, of Navanvale stud in Williams, won the supreme grand champion sash at Make Smoking History Wagin Woolorama with their medium-wool ram.

The four-tooth ram, Navanvale Holty, was named after former long-time stud classer Graham Holton, who recently retired after many years of looking after the Hogg family’s stud flock.

In the supreme line-up were three other grand champions, including a four-tooth fine-medium wool Poll Merino ram exhibited by Seymour Park, of Highbury, a four-tooth strong wool Merino ewe from the Darijon stud, of Narrogin, and a four-tooth fine wool Poll Merino ewe from the Rangeview stud, at Darkan.

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