Hamilton’s Sheepvention Rural Expo cancels 2024 ram sale

Terry Sim June 19, 2024

Elders stud stock auctioneer Ross Milne, centre, selling at a previous Hamilton Sheepvention ram sale assisted by some Landmark spotters.

HAMILTON’S iconic Sheepvention ram sale will not be held in 2024 – the first time in about 40 years the auction of rams from leading Merino, Corriedale and Dohne studs has not been held at the south-west Victorian event.

Merino ram sales had been held for decades in Hamilton before the Hamilton Sheep Show was incorporated into the Sheepvention event in the early 1980s, including a ram sale that progressed from a stud sale auction to include the popular pen of five flock ram concept.

The Sheepvention Rural Expo organizing committee announced this week that it had made a strategic decision to cancel this year’s ram sale. The proactive move is aimed at re-evaluating and enhancing the event for future success, the committee said in a media release.

The committee said the sale has been a highlight of the annual event for more than 40 years, drawing breeders and buyers from across the country. However, this year’s entries did not reach anticipated levels and rather than proceeding with a suboptimal sale the committee has chosen to take this opportunity to regroup and come back stronger, the committee said.

The committee said the decision was made swiftly to provide vendors, sponsors, potential buyers and Sheepvention patrons with ample notice.

Sheepvention president David Botterill said despite the challenges, 2024 will still bring a fantastic event on 4-5 August.

“We are disappointed that a long-standing aspect of Sheepvention has succumbed to the changing nature of ram sales, with the increase of on property sales and the post-COVID rise of online platforms.

“We are however still very excited to showcase the Merino breed through a number of merino stud exhibitors on display and the Merino Sheep Show. 2024 will bring another fantastic event, with a jam packed schedule on the cards,” he said.

The committee said the decision presents an opportunity for the committee to gather feedback, explore new ideas, and implement strategies that will enhance interest and participation into the future. It said it is confident the cancellation will lead to improved and more exciting event components that continue to support and engage the agricultural community.

Sheepvention Rural Expo will continue to host a number of highly anticipated competitions, including the Virbac Hamilton & Western District Sheep Show, Coprice Victorian Farm Dog Championships, Proway Wool Handling Competition, Inventions Competition, interactive demonstrations, childrens entertainment and over 500 trade exhibits.

For more event information, please visit www.sheepvention.com


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  1. Peter Small, June 19, 2024

    It was the inimitable Sandy McKirdy, sheep classer extraordinaire who came up with the unique concept of reinventing the Hamilton event with a “pen of five” rams. This brilliant concept promoted by Sandy, selling agents and other sheep classers like Murray Elliot transformed a back yard event in Hamilton to be the biggest Merino ram sale in Australia. Forty years on, Hamilton Sheepvention needs reinventing again, but from where will another Sandy McKirdy appear?

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