Poll Dorsets take centre stage at NSW Championships in Cowra

In a year where many events have been forced to cancel, one bright spot in the agricultural circle was the NSW Dorset Championships on Friday and Saturday.

A strong contingent of studs were in attendance and despite the usual entries from Victoria being absent, Chief Steward, Roger Traves, said it was pleasing to see the championships go ahead.

"Numbers are down because there are four or five studs that regularly come who haven't," he said.

"But in saying that we've had a return of some studs that haven't shown for a few years at Cowra or NSW Championships.

"They've come because there's been no shows in the Central West and to have up to 20 studs nominate it's exceptional.

"With what's gone on with COVID, the drought, the timing and social distancing rules we have, it is pleasing."

Mr Traves praised the number of entries from the studs and the condition of the animals.

"The sheep are excellent, as per normal the exhibitors have done a great job in presenting their sheep," he said.

"Having the opportunity of a show they've put the work in to present the animal to the best of their ability.

"It was pretty tough early in the year, all show sheep are fed to keep them up above the normal commercial breeders, but with not having other shows in they've probably taken a steady as you go approach and the animals are in a very good show condition."

That sentiment was shared by this year's judge, Brayden Gilmore, who said he had been surprised by the entries.

"It's been really exciting to come in and judge quality stock," he said.

"They kept coming class after class and they should be extremely happy with the way they've presented them.

"I was surprised that the stock was up like they were because of COVID and everyone being so unsure about where the season is going to go.

"But lovely in a year like this to get around and catch up with some good people that are in the industry," he said.

While the NSW Championships are normally held in June, Mr Traves said some changes had been made to the competition.

"Obviously some of the sheep have a higher growth, some of the scan classes are a lot heavier and we've changed the wording of a couple of classes to accommodate the time of year to suite the category.

"We decided to split the performance class, having the April/May drop then the June/July and the first of August.

"It's given the breeders a chance to display young sheep in a class they are suited to and not have to compete with the older sheep, so they have a greater opportunity to compete.

"We had a really good response to splitting those classes."

Despite the reception to those changes, he said the organising committee were looking towards their regular scheduling in 2021.

"June is the slot we fit into and unless we have a lot of encouragement to move the date, it is our preferred time," he said.

"A lot of the other shows down in Victoria start in July and the age of the sheep suit June, there probably at their peak at that time.

"Then it's only a matter of carrying that sheep on to the later shows."

Mr Traves thanked all the entrants, sponsors and Mr Gilmore for taking part in this year's show.

"Thanks to Brayden, we did have a little hiccup with the judging," he siad.

"One had personal commitment and our one from WA couldn't come because of the COVID restrictions.

"So Brayden was very kind to step in, all the judges that were approached have been nominated by the exhibitors, so we pleased he was able to come in and fill that void for us.

"Thanks to all the sponsors especially Bromar they a great supporter of the NSW Championships and the work of the organising committee.

"We look forward to the show next year on the 18th and 19th of June."