President Andy Cowper said it was a significant improvement.
“There’s a lot more optimism out there,” he said. “The seasonal outlook’s probably no better than it was three years ago, but the improvement in commodity prices have helped greatly.”
The committee instigated an online booking process this year as well, with a discount for two days, which Andy thought may have contributed to the better numbers.
Warm days meant that people were chasing the shade in the middle of the day but the crowd came out in force for the Tuesday evening function held in place of the usual twilight bull sale.
After a day packed with young judging competitions, a ladies lunch and thought-provoking debate at the innovation space and technology precinct on Tuesday, the ram sale, steer trial presentation and scholarship presentation took centre stage on Wednesday.
Mitchell Merino stud, Mt Ascot, took the honours for the day, exhibiting the champion pen judged by NSW guest judge, Cam Munro, the general manager for HE Kater and Sons.
Pens from Lansdowne, Wyambeh, Coreena, Jolly Jumbuck, Barcaldine Downs Merinos and Poll Merinos, and Wattle Downs were under scrutiny.
There was an 80 per cent clearance rate for the sale of the pens of one-year-old rams, with three of the 15 pens passed in.
Mt Ascot secured the highest price of the sale, $1000, paid twice, by John and Donna Sheales, Mahrigong, Winton, and by John and Lee Laidler, Kappa-ki, Longreach.
Barcaldine, Aramac and Jericho beef producers were smiling a little later when the results of the steer trial were announced.
Robyn Adams at Stratford, Jericho, had the highest weight gain percentage at the end of the 100 day grassfed trial, with a 36.3pc gain.
In the feedlot section, Ben Simpson at Thistlebank, Aramac, recorded both the best weight gain percentage (62.7) and average daily gain (2.42kg).
It was Bill and Kylie Burton, Saltern Creek, Barcaldine who took the overall win when grassfed, feedlot and carcase sections were added together, with 30 points.
Thistlebank was the reserve champion on 27 points, and Doug and Jan Bradshaw, Red Range, Wandoan, were close behind with 25 points.
To round the day off, Muttaburra-based medical student, Sally Magoffin was announced as the recipient of the Westech RAPAD scholarship, while in the horse sport arena, Aramac’s Brittany Hannay and Charlotte Masters from Alpha were the recipients of the Terri-Ann Rosenow encouragement award in the horsemanship clinics conducted by the Longreach Pastoral College’s respected instructor, John Arnold.