A British Blue “baby” – a budding star of the future in the exhibition arena – was overall victor on Craven Champions Day, the annual show and sale of commercial store cattle with future show potential at Skipton Auction Mart on Wednesday.
The eight-month-old home-bred heifer from J C Walker and Son, Brennand Farm, Dunsop Bridge, Clitheroe, was first chosen as winner of the young handlers class when shown by 14-year-old Robert Walker, on half term holiday from Bowland High School, Grindleton.
Robert, who is treasurer of Slaidburn Young Farmers Club, then saw his charge – he trained the youngster himself – progress to be chosen as champion in the halter-led classes, before being picked as supreme show champion by judge William Timm, of Court House Farm, Goole.
Mr Timm was returning to Skipton after landing the female and supreme beef championship with a British Blue-cross heifer at Skipton’s annual Christmas prime livestock shows in December. It sold for a record-breaking £2912.
The Craven Champions Day title winner, knocked down for £1,650 to Steven Priestley, Hill Top Farm, Denholme, is by the Walkers’ own stock bull Ridge Dean Theo, who has twice previously been responsible for champions at the Skipton show, an established early season fixture on the North of England circuit.
The Walker family was also responsible for the top-priced show animal, the first prize British Blue heifer, knocked down for £1800 to a purchaser from Calderdale.
This year, the fixture again attracted a top quality turnout – the best seen in a long time, according to many experienced ringside pundits – notably in the British Blue classes, which also produced the reserve supreme champion, a BB-sired bullock from Bernard Simpson, of Spring House, Heathfield, Pateley Bridge, the non-halter led title winner.
The home-bred 11-month-old is by Tam Horn Volcanic, bought by Mr Simpson at Skipton several years ago after landing the championship at a high profile British Blue show and sale.
Reserve champion in the non-halter led classes was the first prize-winning British Blue-sired heifer from Jonathan Townley, of E & M Townley, Nutta Farm, Clapham, sold for £930 to T R Holmes, Lincoln.
The Townleys were also responsible for the reserve champion in the halter-led section, the first prize Limousin-sired heifer, acquired by the show judge for £1,080.
The 2008 Craven Champions Day title winner, Chris Akrigg, of Manor Farm, Cray, sold his third prize British Blue bullock for £1460 to R C Turnbull & Son, York, while B Stonehouse, of Staxton, Scarborough, sold two Blonde bullocks for £1280 and £1200.
British Blue entries from two local farmers, a heifer from T Moorhouse, Horton-in-Craven, and the first prize bullock from John Stephenson, Bordley, made £1250 and £1240 respectively.
A total of 65 budding bovine stars of the future were entered in the show, averaging a healthy £925.15.