As red letter days go, none came much better for father and son North Craven farmers Jim and Ian Handley when they made their first-ever outing as exhibitors at Skipton Auction Mart's premier 'Red Event' the annual Spring show and sale of pedigree Limousin bulls and females - and walked away with supreme championship honours. (Wed, May 11)
With the Craven Limousin pedigree breeding bull supreme champion are from left, handler Jock Wyllie, exhibitors Ian and Jim Handley, and judge Paul Tippets.
The Handleys Gunnerfleet pedigree Limousin herd, based at the farm of the same name in Chapel-le-Dale, Ingleton, has had a 12-year break from the exhibition arena, but returned in sparkling style to secure the title with their first prize senior bull and male champion, Gunnerfleet Express.
The victor is a February, 2009-born son of the Scottish-bred Glenrock Ventura, bought by the Handleys in 2006 for 24,000gns. Ventura's progeny have sold to 32,000gns and to a high of 12,000gns for bulls produced while in Handley hands.
The dam is the home-bred Gunnerfleet Vunas - her grand dam produced 50,000gns worth of bulls in her lifetime - while her full sister, a son of Gunnerfleet Plunas, sold for 37,000gns. The Skipton title winner made 3,000gns (£3,150) when joining J Feather, of Pear Tree Barn, Hainworth Shaw, Keighley.
North Craven exhibitors were also responsible for the day's top price when the second prize senior bull, Gallaber Empire, from Tommy and Jennifer Sedgwick and their 31-year-old son Ian, of Gallaber Farm, Burton-in-Lonsdale, sold for 5,000gns (£5,250) to Matt Townsend, of Barnside Hall Farm, Laneshawbridge, Colne.
The two-year-old Empire is an AI son of the legendary Rocky and a full brother to Blocky, supreme champion at the Skipton Limousin highlight for the Sedgwick family in 2007 The dam is the home-bred Gallaber Umist.
The Sedgwicks established their pedigree Limousin herd in 1987 and have developed it over the years, regularly selling store bulls at CCM Skipton and retaining the better elements for breeding. "Its the highest price we've ever achieved at Skipton. The fixture has a good following and is definitely going in the right direction," said Mr Sedgwick Snr.
Regular Skipton buyer Matt Townsend, whose 26-year-old son Ben is also fully involved in the business, said the latest acquisition would take its place as a stock bull on their British Blue herd. They are experimenting with Limousin breeding as an alternative to British Blue sires.
The Sedgwicks also sold their third prize senior bull, the Tunnelby Monkeytricks son Gallaber Evolution, for 2,800gns to CJ & DM Metcalfe, Masham.
A record 142 pedigree Limousin bulls and females were on parade, compared to 92 last year, reflecting both the growing popularity and stature of the annual fixture, which produced a good clearance level of 84% and robust trade.
The reserve male and overall reserve supreme champion was the first prize younger intermediate class bull, the 23-month-old Coachhouse Emporio, from Nottinghamshire breeders Barry and Gill Heald, whose Coachhouse herd, which was also responsible for the Skipton Limousin champion several years ago, is based at Home Farm, Grove, Retford.
This true home-bred bull, out of Coachhouse Sasque and by Coachhouse Amos, whose progeny includes the 6,500gns Coachhouse Delectable, and who is now, like his sire Sympa, standing with the renowned Haltcliffe pedigree Limousin herd in Wigton, sold for 2,500gns (£2,625) to DR Jackson & Son, Carnaby, Bridlington.
Top price in the young intermediate bulls class at 2,900gns (£3,045) fell to the second prize winner from the Cumbria-based Angiean herd of Ian and Angela Grisedale at Greenmount Farm, Milton, Crooklands. It returned to its county of origin when joining Messrs Smith & Shepherd, Appleby in Westmorland.
Best of the older intermediate bulls was the January, 2010-born, Prietec Frankie, from Elaine Priestley, of T & E Priestley, Lane House Farm, Mewith, Bentham. The first prize winner, by the Handleys' Gunnerfleet Unbeatable, also headed the class prices when joining local buyer Brian Woodsworth, of Bolton Abbey, for 3,000gns (£3,150).
Rachael Walshaw with her first prize Craven Limousin junior bull
The class for older junior bulls fell to promising young breeder, Rachael Walshaw, of Meltonby House Farm, Pocklington, with her 15-month-old Wilodge Vantastic son Beacon Fairfax, out of Cockleshell Amanda, one of the first two cows acquired by Rachael when she started her pedigree herd as a 21-year-old.
She is now 25 and her Limousin holding has grown to 11-strong. Rachael's Skipton class winner repaid some of her commitment and investment to date when sold for 1,900gns (£1,995) to Wharfedale purchasers William and Mark Keighley, of Leathley, Otley.
The Elderberry herd of east coast exhibitors Paul Blenkhorn & Son, of Elder Farm, Willitoft, Goole, presented the first prize in-calf cow with Rocky-sired bull calf at foot, the pair selling for 2,000gns (£2,100) to John and Rachel Handley, Carnforth.
For the second year in succession, the high profile fixture incorporated female stock production consignments from two of the region’s leading breeders, the Oddacres herd of John and Claire Mason in Embsay, and Steven and Ruth Priestley’s Brontemoor herd at Denholme, Bradford.
The Priestley's 35-strong consignment, predominantly maiden heifers, was responsible for the female champion, the 13-month-old Brontemoor Fawn, by the Rocky son Doonberg Andrew, acquired by the family from Southern Ireland six years ago. The dam is Brontemoor Royalty, who has also produced a 12,000gns bull.
The female victor - the Priestleys' top performer - sold for 1,900gns (£1,995) to up-and-coming 19-year-old Limousin breeder Sam Whitehead, of Hole House Farm, Cautley, Sedbergh. Sam now has six Limousin females, along with a breeding bull recently acquired from Dave Kelly at nearby Kirkby Lonsdale. Young Sam has high hopes of making his mark on the show circuit in due course.
The Masons, who brought 15 quality Limousins, were responsible for the reserve female champion, the year-old Usant daughter Oddacres Flora, who joined Walter Wight, of St Boswells, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders for 1,220gns (£1,281).
The same buyer also snapped up three further prize-winning Mason maiden heifers, along with the Priestleys' first prize 2009-born maiden heifer.
The Masons top performer was a six-year-old home-bred cow and her three-month-old bull calf, by the Neptune son Victor-Ben, which made 2,700gns (£2,835) when joining A I & W Forsyth in Morpeth, Northumberland.
Both the Masons and the Priestleys confirmed they were 'very happy' with clearance and trading levels of their respective consignments.
Show judge was Paul Tippets, of the noted Wilodge Limousin herd in Shifnal, Shrophshire, who noted: "Many of the bulls on show will progress to perform well as commercial sires. The champion is a big, powerful and modern Limousin, with good potential for the future."
Show sponsors were Farmers Mart, Robertshaw Myers Financial Solutions
and Andy Thompson, of personal protection canine services company
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