Woolorama showing its class

Danella BevisThe West Australian

Flares may have gone out of style since Wagin Woolorama debuted in the early 1970s but wool has always fashioned the event, which turned 40 last week.

In spite of the heat, crowd numbers were on par with last year, with 19,400 people attending on Friday and Saturday.

While the sheep industry is its main focus, the introduction of cattle, machinery, market displays, sheepdog trials and a rodeo over the years have made Woolorama a must on the show calendar.

The 40th anniversary also brought together past Wagin Agricultural Society presidents and former Miss Wooloramas and Young Rural Ambassadors for a special reunion on Saturday.

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The reunion proved to be a personal highlight for Wagin Agricultural Society president Murray Gell, who declared this year's Woolorama a success.

He said the event's staff and 30-member strong committee were prepared to change with the times to ensure Woolorama continued to thrive.

"I can see us going from strength to strength - we have got a committee that is open to new ideas," he said.

For local Arthur Pederick, who was Wagin Agricultural Society president from 1985-87 and is the current rodeo steward, Woolorama exists because of the passion of the committee members and volunteers who have helped to make the event grow.

One of those is life member Malcolm Edward, who received a medallion in appreciation of his work over 40 years as a committee member.

"It's gone from probably 100 exhibitors to 400 commercial exhibitors," Arthur said.

"People from Esperance, Dandaragan, Albany and Northampton exhibit sheep - it's the sheep show to be at and I don't see that changing."

Although the shoulder pads and puffy sleeves of her 1982 Miss Woolorama outfits are a thing of the past, Di Dohle's enthusiasm for Woolorama remains a constant, having served in the British and Australasian breeds office for 10 years alongside husband Austin.

The daughter of late Woolorama founding member Glenys Gmeiner, Di first became involved in Woolorama at 14 as the steward for the children's halter lead class.

"It is a wonderful show and it takes everybody to contribute something to make that happen," she said. "There is a very strong core group of people who keep it ticking."

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