Fleece comp is going virtual

Virtual Ekka fleece comp is a go

Wool
Green light: Narda and Will Roberts, Victoria Downs, Morvern with chief steward Bruce Lines with entries for the 2019 Ekka Wool Competition.

Green light: Narda and Will Roberts, Victoria Downs, Morvern with chief steward Bruce Lines with entries for the 2019 Ekka Wool Competition.

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Despite the cancellation of the Royal Queensland Show this year due to COVID-19 restrictions organisers of the wool section are making inroads to ensuring the time-honoured competition goes ahead this year.

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Despite the cancellation of the Royal Queensland Show this year due to COVID-19 restrictions organisers of the wool section are making inroads to ensuring the time-honoured competition goes ahead this year.

Competition chief steward, Bruce Lines said the RNA council believe that it's very important to keep the spirit of the Ekka alive.

"To that end we're holding what competitions we can to try and create a "Virtual Ekka"," he said.

"The Ekka Wool Competition will be perhaps the only chance this year for woolgrowers to showcase their wool in Queensland."

Victoria Downs Merino Studs' Will Roberts said over the last five years 12 to 20 Merino breeders have entered wool into the competition including Merino Studs.

"There has been wool entered from Winton in the North, Quilpie in the west, Warwick in the east, Walcha in southern New South Wales and many other places in between," Mr Roberts said.

"Entrants have entered from a single fleece to up 10 fleeces each in various classes in the event," he said.

Mr Roberts said the main challenge in holding the competition at present has been finding a location that is convenient for the chief steward and stewards.

"If all goes according to plan we'll host the competition at the Victoria Downs Woolshed in Morven, two weeks prior to when the Ekka was going to be held so that the RNA staff have time to create the "Virtual Ekka"

"We need to showcase the wool and so we'll be producing videos of the judging process, voice recordings of the judge's comments and videos of the overall display which will be posted online.

"Entries will be taken by the RNA and ribbons will be provided by the RNA. The collating of all video will be done by the RNA Media Department to create the "Virtual Ekka" experience."

Mr Lines said there won't be any change to the program with the traditional schedule of classes to be open for entry.

He said in recent years there has been little change in regards to the fleece entries, although to be more competitive overall the entries have trended a little heavier in fleece weights.

"Most entrants have tried to present the best possible fleeces they can with consideration to the dryer seasons they've dealt with."

Mr Lines said for the 2019 competition the winner of the Lendlease Grand Champion Merino Fleece of Show was a fleece from the Sweeny family, Tallara, Walcha NSW.

"The super fine fleece scored 91.5 points and weighed 5.2kg, it presented well in all attributes, it was high in strength, had great colour and character and excellent evenness."

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