THE OPENING day of the Welsh Winter Fair at Builth Wells turned out to be remarkable for one west Wales family.

Michael Owens, his wife Heulwen and eldest son Chris from Llandysul in Ceredigion, exhibited under their own names and took various top awards, including the interbreed sheep championship, with Beltex and Beltex crosses from their Glantre flock.

After a marathon nine hour judging session Mr Owens took the championship with a pair of ewe lambs that won the Royal Welsh Show’s butchers’ lamb championship in July.

Judge Oriel Jones said he picked the duo, weighing 87kg, because their back legs were marginally superior to those of the pair of Texels exhibited by Andrew and Becky Bishop that he placed as reserve champion.

A pair of pure Beltex lambs entered by Mrs Owens stood in reserve pure Continental championship spot, and another owned by 15-year-old Chris Owens picked up the reserve carcass lamb pairs championship. Both the pairs and single lamb carcass championships went to Texel x Beltex entries from Dermot Weaver.

Hobby breeders Owen and Anne Beresford, who run 50 ewes, travelled from Ashbourne in Derbyshire to collect the special Texel carcass championship.

With more than 25,000 visitors to the show, spectators stood four deep around the main ring on the second day to see Powys-based Will Lloyd Williams judge the interbreed beef championship.

Mr Lloyd Williams took his time deciding his champion, which went to Gilbert Brooke’s 640kg Limousin x Belgian Blue heifer, Lady Jane, which was later described by the judge as near perfect.

Bought at the National Primestock Show in Stafford last year, the win was the tenth championship in a row for Worcs-based Mr Brooke and Lady Jane, but his first in Wales. Mr Lloyd Williams went on to back his judgement by paying 6000 to make her carcass the centrepiece of the Christmas show he stages annually for producers supplying his abattoir.

Reserve supreme champion went to Dyn Mawr, a 760kg Limousin sired steer exhibited by Trebor Edwards of Corwen, Denbighshire. The win fulfilled the promise shown when the steer took the commercial cattle championship at the Royal Welsh Show four months earlier.

A special award for pedigree Welsh Black cattle went to Esgob Ior, a 588kg steer bred and exhibited by Gwenfair Jones and her sons who farm near Bala in Merionydd.