Thousands of people flocked to Skipton Auction's Mart's annual Native Stock Breeder Auctions, the highlight of a hectic day at the North Yorkshire venue.
The showcase for rare, minority and traditional breeds of cattle, sheep and pigs incorporated the 119th annual show and sale for the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders' Association, and the Northern Jacob Sheep Breeders' 34th annual show and sale.
Also on the action-packed agenda were the Craven Feather Auctions' seasonal show and sale of poultry and wildfowl, and the bi-monthly auctions of machinery, reclamation and salvage, furniture, garden and general items of interest.
Not only does this ever-popular hardy annual attract agricultural communities, but it is also a magnet for a vast diversity of breeders and breed enthusiasts, poultry fanciers, collectors and members of the general public, creating all-round family interest.
Mark Elliott with his Skipton Wensleydale supreme champion, joined by show judge Jim Thompson, chairman of the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders Association.
Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders Association 119th Annual Show and Sale
The breed championship was awarded to the Elliott family, from Ferrensby, Knaresborough, for a shearling ram from their Providence flock.
Judge Jim Thompson, Welsh-based chairman of the association, selected the ram, which won three trophies - the Burton Silver Teapot for the best shearling or aged ram, the Smalley Perpetual Challenge Cup for the best ram any age and the Fawell Perpetual Challenge Cup for the champion Wensleydale. The victor went on to achieve the highest sale price of the day at 360 guineas.
The reserve male championship went to retired Leyburn veterinary surgeon Jack Watkinson for his aged ram, which sold for the second highest price of the day at 300gns.
The John Percival Perpetual Challenge Cup for the best shearling ram bred by the exhibitor was won by 2009 show champions John and Shelagh Prescott, from Longhorsley, Northumberland. Their ram sold for 250gns.
Of the 17 males forward, 16 sold - with averages of 200gns for aged rams, 166gns for shearling rams and 120gns for ram lambs.
The female champion, taking both the Outlane Perpetual Challenge Cup for the best ewe lamb and the Percival Trophy for the best female, was awarded to Yvonne Mudd, also of Knaresborough, for a ewe lamb.
This ewe lamb was twin to the first placed ram lamb, which won the Fawell Silver Coffee Pot for the best ram lamb and the Nettleton Perpetual Silver Salver for the best fleshed ram lamb, continuing a highly successful show season for Mrs Mudd's Thistle flock.
All 24 females forward sold, with shearling ewes averaging 176gns and ewe lambs 143gns.
This 119th WLSBA Sale resulted in some of the highest average prices seen in recent years and reflected the high quality of the stock on offer.
Northern Area Jacob Sheep Breeders' 35th Annual Show and Sale
With 210 breeding sheep forward, this represented the highest entry since the fixture moved to Skipton four years ago and proved one of the biggest breed sales in the country in recent times.
Jean Blacknell, left, with the Skipton Jacob champion, joined by judge John Shemwell and Jane Chapman, of sponsors Allflex.
Both the show champion and reserve were February, 2008-born two-shear entries. The title winner was a four-horn ewe from the Jacob Sheep Society field officer Jean Blacknell, of Loynton, Stafford, who was winning her third Northern Area title.
By the Worcestershire-based Perrymill Gregor, the home-bred title winner, which was shown successfully as a shearling last year, sold for 300gns to Chris Simpson, of Beverley. Mrs Blacknell also exhibited the first prize ram lamb, the February-born Loynton Elvis, another product of the prolific Perrymill Gregor.
Reserve champion was a two-horn ram, Douglas John Boy, from two very young breeders, nine-year-old Reece Fenton, and Nathan Brace, seven, of Whitley, Goole. Both are pupils at Whitley and Eggborough Primary School.
Unfortunately, Reece and Nathan were visiting the National Space Centre at Leicester on show day, so left their runner-up in the capable hands of their grandparents John and Freda Fozzard, of School Farm, Whitley, who have been breeding Jacobs for 24 years and first introduced their two grandsons to the breed.
A son of Celtic Royal, the reserve champion had already been shown with success, becoming male and breed champion at the Royal Norfolk Show in both 2009 and 2010. He was sold for 400gns to a buyer from North Craven, Robin Askew, of Lawkland Hall Farm, Austwick.
Top price in show at 620gns fell to a shearling ram from Cumbrian breeders Geoff Wood and Sheila Dickinson, of Moorhouse Farm, Scales, Ulverston. Acquired by James Brown, of Holmfirth, who is thought to be a new breeder, the February, 2009-born ram, by Greenacres Friendly, has already been shown with success this year, landing first prizes in shows at Penrith, Cartmel and Garstang.
The top-priced female at 600gs was the first prize ewe lamb from Shropshire's Jackie Lewis, of Alberbury, Shrewsbury. The Pentrenant David daughter joined the Dun-Mor flock of well-known Scottish Jacob duo Gordon Connor and Scott Dalrymple, of Bridgend, Linlithgow.
The shearling ewe class was won by Clive Richardson, of Swarthmoor, Ulverston, and the store lambs class by John Atkinson, of Thirsk.
Top prices and averages: Ewe lambs to £630 (av £110), shearling ewes to £525 (£136), ewes to £315 (£103), ram lambs to £147 (£72), shearling rams to £651 (£213), aged rams to £420 (£147).
Show and Sale Organiser Gavin Haworth, of the Northern Area Jacob Sheep Breeders, said: “The fixture is getting bigger and better every year, and is now one of the best Jacob sheep show and sales in the country. The number of people who participated and the quality of the sheep was excellent.”
Show judge was John Shemwell, of Holymoorside, Chesterfield, and the main sponsors were JACS Trade and DIY Warehouse, of Snaygill Industrial Estate, Skipton, and livestock identification specialists Allflex, represented by Skipton-based Jane Chapman.
Native Stock Breeder Auctions
Many traditional native and rare breeds were among a strong and colourful turnout for this popular fixture.
Supreme champion in the sheep section was a Whiteface Woodland ram, Grangefarm Bigcroft Boy, exhibited by Middlesbrough Council's Newham Grange Leisure Farm at Coulby Newham, a popular visitor attraction in the north-east.
It sold for £378 to C Braithwaite, of Winewall, Colne, with a second ram, Grangefarm Bigcroft Bart - both were born within a week of each other in March, 2009, and are by the same sire, Bigcroft Adonis - selling for £220 to a second north-east Lancashire purchaser, JC Nutter, of Fence.
The reserve supreme champions, a pair of Teeswater ewes, were exhibited by 18-year-old Ben Mudd, of Thistle Manor, Thistle Hill, Knaresborough. Both sold for £105 to buyers from South Wales and East Anglia.
Luke Brook with Skylark Rare Breeds' Skipton Berkshire pig champion.
Up-and-coming younger exhibitors were well represented and one of them, 11-year-old Liam McGill, of Lindley Moor, Huddersfield, was over the moon after landing first prize in the Ryelands rams class.
The March, 2010-born, Samark Neptune, sold for £136 to J&F Fish, Kelso, a price bettered by young Liam's second entry, the six-month-old Samark Norman, who made £142 when acquired by JH Baker, Salterforth. Both entries were sons of Bromwell Killer.
In the cattle section, there was a champion and reserve championship double for local husband and wife native breed enthusiasts Mark and Joan Luscombe, of New Friars Garth, Malham. Both were home-bred 18-month-old Dexter heifers born on the same day and by the same sire, Risplith David. Both sold for the same price of £420 and to the same buyer, C Oversby, of Ingleton.
The champion pig was a nine-month-old Berkshire boar from Peter and Mandy Ellis, of Skylark Rare Breeds, Camblesforth, Selby, exhibited by their son-in-law Luke Brook, an accountant. It sold for £100.
Craven Feather Auctions Show and Sale
Sixteen-year-old George Bulmer, of Wellfield Farm, Salton, near Malton, ruled the Craven Feather Auctions roost when exhibiting the champion trio of Rhode Island Reds, a cockerel and two pullets.
Bred from show stock and hatched in February, both pullets, which began laying a fortnight before the fixture, had won their classes at this year's Farndale Show, one clinching the large fowl best in show, before going on to finish second to the overall best in show champion at Rosedale Show.
Farmers' son George, who has just started his agricultural training at Bishop Burton College, near Beverley, has been breeding poultry for three years. Chosen as the pick of the 700 poultry and waterfowl on show by judge Shelley Rogerson, president of the Croad Langshan Club, the title winners sold for top price in show at £130 to T Holt, of Gossley, Preston.
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