New England Merino stud breeder, Alison van Eyk, has been named among this year’s 15 recipients of Champion of the RAS awards.
The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW will host this year’s winners at a special function at the Sydney Royal Easter Show on March 30.
Alison van Eyk has been exhibiting sheep from her family’s Shalimar Park Merino stud, Wollun, since 2003 and has enjoyed plenty of success including the Sir Walter Merriman Memorial Trophy for the most successful superfine and finewool Merino sheep exhibitor as well as Supreme Merino Sheep and Supreme Merino Fleece of the Show.
“Exhibiting sheep at the Royal Easter Show is exciting, you’re putting your sheep up against the best in Australia and the camaraderie among the studs is amazing,” Ms van Eyk said.
“One of my fondest show memories was in 2012, during the final Supreme Merino judging, we were lining up among a big row of grand champions and the supreme ribbon landed on the ram my son was holding. The smile that appeared on his face was unforgettable.”
RAS president, Robert Ryan, said Ms van Eyk epitomised everything the show was about: Australia’s biggest celebration of our country’s people, practices and produce.
“The Sydney Royal competitions are the cornerstone of the show and showcase the skill, energy, passion and produce from across rural NSW and beyond,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Champions of the RAS go beyond winning ribbons and trophies. Many have been a part of the show community for a significant part of their lives.
“The Show would not be the world class event it is today without the dedication and tireless commitment from our exhibitors who are represented by the 2018 crop of Champions.
“With so many different components to the show, the award recognises those who aren’t necessarily in the spotlight.”