Brand new competitive cattle classes at this year’s Northumberland County Show are set to give young handlers a chance to shine.
Lucy Corner of Rye Close Farm in Newton Aycliffe
For the first time at the event, which will take place at Tynedale Park in Corbridge on Bank Holiday Monday, June 4, exhibitors of beef cattle aged 21 and under will be able to demonstrate their skills in showing off their animals to the best of their ability.
With a junior class for youngsters aged between eight and 14 and a senior class for 15 to 21-year-olds, the stage is set for all ages to make their mark at the annual event, which is a showcase for farming and the countryside.
With the senior class named as a qualifier for the East of England Smithfield Festival, entrants will also by vying for a place to compete for the title of Young Stock Person of the Year at the Peterborough event, which will take place on November 30 and December 1. Hexham and Northern Marts who are very experienced in holding young handler classes themselves have kindly sponsored these new classes at the show.
Showmanship classes are a well-established fixture for young handlers of dairy cattle and organisers, Tynedale Agricultural Society, were keen to offer the same opportunities for those who show beef cattle.
Cattle secretary, Diane Harrison, said: “We’ve introduced the new classes as a result of feedback from some of our exhibitors, many of whom are regulars, who told us beef young handlers’ classes would be well supported.
“It’s important for us as a show to develop and broaden our appeal wherever possible and I’m confident these new classes will be a brilliant addition to the 70 or so classes we already offer in the cattle section.”
One young farmer who is already putting in the hours to prepare for the new classes is Lucy Corner of Rye Close Farm in Newton Aycliffe, who regularly shows cattle at the event, and has already scooped countless accolades as a young handler.
Perhaps most notably, the 17-year-old was named Champion Young Handler for the second time in three years at the 2011 Great Yorkshire Show, with her British Blue cross bullock, Tinie Tempah. She was also named Champion Young Handler at the Hexham Beef Expo in 2010.
“I had a great teacher,” said Lucy, who was introduced to the world of cattle showing by her neighbour, the late Alan Hall, who farmed at Preston Tilery in Brafferton, near Darlington.
“My dad mucked out for Alan and he told him how interested I was in the cattle. Alan had a smaller heifer he wanted to show and asked if I’d do it for him. So I spent months before hand learning the ropes, washing and halter training, every weekend and in school holidays.”
At the tender age of nine she made her debut at Corbridge with Alan’s British Blue cross heifer, Sweetpea, and just a few years later she returned to enjoy success with British Blue cross bullock, Fuzzbuzz, who achieve third in his class.
Following Alan’s death in January, Lucy is determined to continue the tradition and plans to show two of his British Blonde cows with calves and a British Blonde bull at Tynedale Park, in his honour
“These new classes are brilliant for young handlers,” she added. “The most important part of preparation is putting the time in and making sure the animal is used to you.
“I have two commercials to choose from to put into the young handler classes. One is a Limousin cross heifer and the other is a British Blue cross bullock”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
A complete list of all livestock and competitive classes at the show is available in the schedule, which can be downloaded at www.northcountyshow.co.uk
The Grand Parade of Livestock is a highlight of the afternoon at the show and the new sponsor of the Champion of Champion Thomas Ridley Memorial Cup is J S Hubbuck of Hexham, Agricultural Merchants. Geoff Hubbuck of JS Hubbuck’s said he was pleased to support the Champion of Champions and be part of the final show at Tynedale Park as he and his family have been so closely involved with the show for over 50 years
Meanwhile, Hexham MP Guy Opperman has been named as the judge of the Light Horse Championship in the ever-popular horse section. The barrister, who is an amateur jockey and has several wins at point to points under his belt, has also taken part in fundraising for the Injured Jockeys Fund.
Other notable judges for 2012 include Chairman of the Poultry Club of Great Britain, David Sill, from West Yorkshire who will be judging the True Bantam and Waterfowl classes in the poultry section, which was promoted to Regional status for the first time last year.
“The calibre of the judges we are able to attract is a credit to our members and volunteers who work hard to make the show happen, as well as the exhibitors who bring along top quality livestock each and every year,” said Show Chairman, David Carr.
Schedules for the event are now available and can be downloaded from the exhibitors section of the website at www.northcountyshow.co.uk
Copies are also available by sending a SAE to The Secretary, Northumberland County Show, Hexham Auction Mart, Tyne Green, Hexham, NE46 3SG.
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