Prime lambs set for Ekka champions comp

Ekka introduces new prime lamb champions competition to build interest

Sheepmeat
Peter and William Hood at the Toowoomba Royal Show in 2019. Prime lamb winners from Toowoomba and seven other shows will be eligible for the Champion of Champions contest. Picture - Victoria Nugent.

Peter and William Hood at the Toowoomba Royal Show in 2019. Prime lamb winners from Toowoomba and seven other shows will be eligible for the Champion of Champions contest. Picture - Victoria Nugent.

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A champion of champions competition for prime lambs will be introduced at this year's Ekka.

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A champion of champions competition for prime lambs will be introduced at this year's Ekka.

RNA councillor Will Roberts said the concept was being introduced for a number of reasons, boosting numbers of open sheep in the prime lamb section among them.

"The stud cattle do it and it adds an extra element of interest," he said.

The champion ram, champion ewe and champion breeders' group from a number of shows on the Darling Downs will be eligible to compete, along with the winners at the regular Ekka competition.

Participating shows are Allora, Clifton, Pittsworth (March 7), Inglewood (March 14), Warwick (March 21), Toowoomba (March 26-7) and Mt Gravatt (July 25), and the RNA event.

The Champion of Champions prime lamb competition will be judged by someone who hasn't undertaken the role at any of the other shows, and will have $3000 prizemoney courtesy of Dickson Ag.

There would be $1000 for each of the three championships on offer, $600 for the winner and $400 for the runner-up.

This was because competition was often extremely close, Mr Roberts said, with little between the winner and the next best sheep.

He said the prime lamb schools competition was very strong but he hoped this would reintroduce stud sheep to the event, especially as studs might donate sheep to schools and could act as mentors.

"Down at Bendigo this sort of event is front cover-worthy - there's no reason why we can't build the same interest and profile in Queensland," he said. "I would hope it might get even southern studs to be part of it - it's a way in for them."

RNA stud sheep section steward Maria Lee said it would give school students a lot of incentive to work towards.

"Show season is upon us now - students will be busy with this to aim for," she said. "They give up a lot of their time so to see an end result such as this would be very special for them."

Ms Lee, also the liaison officer between the Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association and schools, said the competitions already offered young people lots in personal development.

"They talk to people of all ages, gain personal confidence and talk on many levels," she said. "And it extends their knowledge to outside of cities and towns, and gives them more scope of employment opportunities."

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