Red Bend Catholic College claims consecutive win of Schools' Wether Challenge

Don Chad, Dubbo, (left) presented students and teachers of Red Bend Catholic College, Forbes, with the ribbon for the champion overall team of wethers.
Don Chad, Dubbo, (left) presented students and teachers of Red Bend Catholic College, Forbes, with the ribbon for the champion overall team of wethers.

FOLLOWING on from their 2017 win of the Merino National Schools Wether Challenge, Red Bend Catholic College at Forbes came back with a burning desire to take home the top title again. 

And it was that drive, consistency and knowing what worked and didn’t work last year that helped the school prove they were fierce competitors, backing up their 2017 overall win and going one step further. 

Red Bend Catholic College were successful in claiming both first and second place overall. 

The school’s team one entry received first and had a total value of $1752.49 while their team two entry was second, valued at $1562.80. 

Chasing down the champion school, and a close $22 behind second, was Forbes High School two in third place with a value of $1540.31. The average across all teams was $1308.01 or $436 per head.

The sixth annual School Wether Challenge attracted 41 schools from across NSW and South Australia for the two-day program. Over 400 people attended the event including 60 teachers and assistants who were joined by industry representatives, breeders and family members. 

Some 301 students from 78 teams presented a total of 234 wethers to the crowd and judges. All wethers were sourced from Egelabra Merinos, Warren, and each team consisted of three animals. 

The program aims to create interest in Merinos through supporting the development of the younger generation’s understanding of the commercial value of the breed. 

Over the past six months students and teachers have been using provided information and research to prepare their teams.

A consistent performance from the overall champion team, Red Bend Catholic College team one, had them in the top spot for wool value with a total value of $584.49, in carcase value with a total value of $874 and in the sheep value projection class recording $294. 

In the wool value section Trangie Central School team one was placed second with $539.82 and Red Bend Catholic College team two was third with a value of $519.84. The average for the section was $426.59 or $142.20 per head. 

Second place in the carcase value division went to Parkes High School team one on $816.80 while Forbes High School team two was third on $780.08. These teams were substantially higher than the section average of $616.03. 

Gulgong High School team one and Coleambally Central School team one were placed equal second in the sheep value projection component of the challenge with equal values of $285. An average of $265.38 was acheived across the board. 

During the live judging of the best group of three, the champion sash was presented to Narranderra High School’s team proudly shown by Yanco Agricultural High School. 

The two-tooth group was described by the two judges as so similar, with consistent cover and outstanding muscle depth. “They are an even group of sheep that had more depth to the team from side on.” 

Reserve champion in the live class went to Narromine High School. 

The best presented school award went to Gulgong High School for their enthusiastic approach to the competition, all-round ability and keenness to help out whenever and wherever possible. 

Competition score keeper and volunteer Don Chad, Dubbo, commended the student’s for their positive attitude, interest and how well they conducted themselves. 

“It was the politest group of students I have ever come across,” Mr Chad said. 

Students also were treated to working dog and blade shearing demonstrations.