The 2350km round trip to Blackall to compete at Queensland’s 2018 state sheep show was worth every drop of fuel for Garry and Donna Kopp, who are heading home with both supreme poll and supreme Merino championships to the Towalba stud’s credit.
It was an unprecedented result for the central New South Wales breeders, who said they were over the moon with the outcome.
Their two junior strong wool rams won the highest accolades late on Saturday afternoon as the judges made their final deliberations, choosing the Towalba Merino ram over the Mt Ascot two tooth medium wool ewe, and the Towalba poll Merino ram over Jolly Jumbuck’s junior medium wool ewe, earlier chosen Queensland’s Ewe of the Year.
The two rams were then put head to head and it was the Merino that was chosen as the supreme exhibit of the 2018 Queensland Merino Stud Sheepbreeders Association show.
Judges Stuart Hodgson, AWI, and Rod Kemp, Kurrajong Park, Delungra, NSW, described him as “carrying himself to his toenails with unbelievable crimp”.
“His skin is producing nourished wool – he’s an outstanding ram,” Mr Kemp said.
The Kopps have attended six of the last seven state sheep shows in Queensland and their best result prior to Saturday was taking out the supreme exhibit award at Barcaldine four years ago.
“This is the first time we’ve won the supreme poll ribbon and we’ve only been showing polls for four years,” he said.
The as-yet unnamed Towalba Merino ram has supreme genetics on his side – the stud’s Towalba Calendar won the Australian supreme ram award in 2012, and Saturday’s winner was sired by a Laurel Park ram out of a Towalba Calendar ewe.
The 21-month-old ram is cutting 21.9 micron wool with a standard deviation of 3.6 and a comfort factor of 99.6, which Garry said was average for what the stud aimed for.
“We’re known for our wool cut and constitution in sheep that are a medium/strong type, and that’s what he represents.
“It’s been an exceptional show for us.
“I knew we had a good sheep but the rest of them followed on.
“To get both supreme ribbons at the one show is really special.”
Towalba, which has clients in the Blackall and Charleville regions, is also going home with ribbons for junior champion Merino and poll Merino rams, champion strong wool Merino and poll Merino rams, champion medium wool Merino ram, grand champion Merino and poll Merino rams, the champion Merino breeder’s group, and champion three rams.
Garry thanked the Queensland stud breeders, saying the support shown from the group made the trip worth it and wasn’t something that was seen everywhere.