THERE was plenty of competition between studs in this year's Elders Expo Four award with 23 quality entries put forward for the judges to cast their eyes over.
The aim of the competition, which is into its 26th year of Elders sponsorship, is to crown the most outstanding team of four rams from the previous year's drop in terms of their evenness and type.
Again like the past few years, the competition was split into two categories - rams shorn before April 20 and rams shorn after April 20 - for judges Fred Leo, Leovale stud, Lake Grace and Craig Jackson, Westerdale stud, McAlinden, to pick their winners from.
The biggest class by far was the prior to April 20 shearing, with 18 groups contesting this category, while the other class attracted five entries.
And in the bigger class it was the House family's Barloo stud, Gnowangerup, which claimed top honours, taking home the rosette for the best four rams shorn before April 20.
The quality team of upstanding Merino rams from Barloo made a big impression on the judging pair, not only in terms of evenness but also their production capabilities.
Mr Jackson said the Barloo team stood out from the rest of the groups in the class.
"They are real sirey types and match up really well," Mr Jackson said.
"They have good consistency throughout in terms of their wool, size and structures.
"They have beautiful stretchy bodies, good heads and quality white wools."
The Barloo team was made up of rams sired by Barloo sire's Prospect, Impact 565, Dominator 475 and Impact 414.
The March blade-shorn rams had current wool tests of 21.3 micron, 3.2 SD, 15.3 CV and 98.6 per cent comfort factor; 20.9 micron, 3.0 SD, 14.3 CV and 99.1pc CF; 20.3 micron, 2.8 SD, 13.9 CV and 99.4pc CF and 22 micron, 3.2 SD, 14.4 CV and 98.5pc CF.
In terms of bodyweight the four April-drop rams weighed in at 129 kilograms, 123kg, 110kg and 118kg.
Finishing second in the class were last year's winners the Ledwith family, Kolindale stud, Dudinin, with a team of four Poll Merinos, which were blade shorn in March.
Mr Jackson said the Kolindale team was made up of four exceptional woolled sheep.
"They are all carrying a white, well-crimped quality wool but in addition to that they have sound bodies which have good size and structure," Mr Jackson said.
"They are a really productive team but just weren't as even as the Barloo group."
The team was made up of four May-drop rams, with two sired by Kolindale 164, which was the supreme exhibit at last year's Rabobank WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale, while the other two rams were by Wallaloo Park 93.
In the category for rams shorn after April 20 it was the Hobley family's Wiringa Park stud, Nyabing, that finished in the top place.
Wiringa Park's team of Poll Merinos clearly impressed the judges with Mr Jackson giving plenty of credit to the four rams.
"They are a beautifully presented team and show good consistency in terms of their wool and structures," Mr Jackson said.
"Their wools matched exceptionally well and it was probably this which got them over the line.
"They are stretchy, long-bodied rams with really good bright, white wools."
On the wool they have current test figures of 17.4 micron, 3.3 SD, 18.8 CV and 100pc CF; 18.1 micron, 3.1 SD, 17.2 CV and 99.8pc CF; 18.7 micron, 3.2 SD, 17.1 CV and 99.8pc CF and 20.8 micron, 3.4 SD, 16.4 CV and 98.6pc CF.
The rams, which were dropped in June/July and machine shorn in April, weighed in at 114kg, 113kg, 112kg and 105kg for bodyweight.
After claiming back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019 in the category, this year the Hogg family's Navanvale stud, Williams, had to settle for second place with a team of Merinos.
Navanvale's team had several sires represented including Navanvale Frank (two AI-bred sons), Charinga General and another Navanvale sire, which carried Westray bloodlines.
Mr Jackson said the four Navanvale rams all had good consistent white wools but they didn't match quite as well as the Wiringa Park team.
"All four rams had quality white wools plus beautiful, meaty structures," he said.
The team had May wool test figures of 16.5 micron, 2.9 SD and 99.9pc CF; 18.1 micron, 3.2 SD and 99.9pc CF; 17.4 micron, 3.6 SD and 99.7pc CF and 17.3 micron, 3.3 SD and 99.9pc CF.
On the carcase front they had fat scans of 4.8mm, 4.3mm, 3.9mm and 5.4mm and eye muscle depths of 27.3mm, 29.6mm, 29.7mm and 27.4mm when scanned in May at 12 months.