Almost 700 kilometres west of Brisbane a wool shed in the heart of western Queensland’s wool country is quietly humming.

Key points:

  • The Ekka was cancelled earlier this month due to COVID outbreaks near its south-east Queensland location
  • The wool judging competition was moved to a property in south-west so it could go ahead
  • More than 50 fleeces were judged to find the Grand Champion Fleece

It is the new location for the Ekka’s wool judging competition, which was cancelled again this year due to COVID-19.

Bruce Lines, Chief Steward of the Ekka’s wool section and wool judge said they were able to move the event fairly easily.

“It was just one of those things” Mr Lines said.

Contingency plan

People looking at fleeces of wool inside a shearing shed

RNA wool judge Paul Lines said holding this year’s judging in a shearing shed felt very authentic.(

ABC Rural: Maddelin McCosker

)

This year, the competition was held at Victoria Downs, a well regarded Merino stud owned by Will Roberts.

Last’s years judging was held in conjunction with the State Sheep Show at a property near Mitchell.

Mr Roberts, the councillor in charge of the wool section, said while it was good to bring the competition to the region he hoped it can move back to Brisbane next year.

A man stands next to scales weighing a bag of wool

Wool grower and councillor in charge of the Ekka wool section Will Roberts weighing fleeces before they’re classed.(

ABC Rural: Maddelin McCosker

)

“We were trying to get it done within the time frame of when the Ekka is usually on,” Mr Roberts said.

Due to a number of shows being cancelled this year, the number of fleeces in the competition fell slightly.

Despite that, Mr Lines said it was a tough competition.

“When you get to the end you want to make sure you’ve got a true fleece that’s going to represent the champion ribbon,” Mr Lines said.

A man stands in front of wool fleece classing it while a man weighs a bag of wool behind him

Bruce Lines classing wool at Victoria Downs with Will Roberts weighing wool. (

ABC Rural: Maddelin McCosker

)

Best wool in Queensland

After some back and forth between the top three fleeces, Mr Lines was able to settle on the Grand Champion fleece, saying it was a real stand-out from the beginning.

Victoria Downs’ Stud Ram Fleece took out the top spot in the end by just 0.5 of a point.

“It just shines,” Mr Lines said.

A pile of wool sits in front of a number of winning ribbons at the Ekka wool judging competition 2021

Victoria Downs won Grand Champion Fleece on the day for their Stud Merino Rams’ Fine Wool.(

ABC Rural: Maddelin McCosker

)

Taking out the top spot in Queensland’s highest wool competition is a proud moment for Will Roberts, who said the competition in the Ekka is always tough.

“The RNA is the best of the best wool that’s presented in Queensland,” Mr Roberts said.

“To win things like this is a bit of a shot in the arm that you’re actually heading in the right direction.”

Best wool in Queensland? A winner crowned as Ekka judging moves out west
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