Family hopes for another Royal win
By John Burns
A DEVON family which has shown livestock at Royal Smithfield for over 30 years is hoping for another win at the first show of the new millennium.
Fifty years ago, the late Herbert Tully and his prized South Devon steer weighing well over one tonne boarded a train at Paignton, Devon.
It was the nearest station to the family farm at Waddeton, south Devon, and Mr Tully, a first-time exhibitor, was on his way to the Royal Smithfield Show.
After the event, Mr Tully, his steer, and the first prize it had won, boarded the train back to Devon. At the time his son Gordon, was just six-months-old.
But it was soon clear he had inherited his fathers interest in exhibiting the South Devon breed: Gordon has missed only one show in the past 31 years.
A high point in his Smithfield career came in 1996 when the Queen Mother presented him with her cup for champion of the British native breeds.
Despite the current crisis in farming and the rising cost of showing, Gordon has entered six cattle in the live classes and two in the carcass competitions.
“Showing is a bug and Dad instilled in me the love of the breed. We both felt that once a breed lost its presence at Smithfield then that breed went off the map.”
Over the past 50 years, the South breed has changed significantly, he believes.
“They are squarer now, more tucked-up, and not so tall. Theyve lost some of the bone and scale, and weve firmed up the type.”
Having won the female South Devon champion at this years 2000 Royal Show, Mr Tully and his wife Anne are well placed to succeed at Smithfield too.