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Keighleys Champions Again at Skipton Winter Texel Highlight
2012-12-18

Mark and Helen Keighley, of Manderlea Farm, Leathley, Otley, regained the supreme championship at the 20th annual Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders’ winter show and sale of pedigree in-lamb females at Skipton Auction Mart. (Sat, Dec 15)

2012 Skipton Winter Texel supreme champion

Texel supreme champion

The annual fixture is a happy hunting ground for the Keighleys, who have now lifted the title six times in the past seven years, missing out only in 2011.

Their latest victor, the first prize shearling ewe from the couple’s prolific Manderlea flock, was among the first crop of lambs by Stonehills Rockstar, acquired by the Keighleys in 2010 and the third prize ram lamb at last year’s Great Yorkshire show.

The dam is by Gib Farm Motorolo, acquired from former Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders’ chairman Spiros Spyrou, of Hebden Bridge, while the grand dam’s sire Wigglesworth Jimmy was responsible for a number of past Skipton champions from the Keighleys.

In lamb to Manderlea Turbo, by Milton of Noth Superstar, who is from renowned breeding lines producing consistent carcase and character, the victor sold to an up-and coming young breeder, 13-year-old William Watson, of Hellifield, for the top price in show of 1,600 guineas (£1,680).

The Settle Middle School pupil bought the champion and reserve at last year’s Skipton Texel winter fixture, as he continues to build his pedigree flock. At the latest renewal, he also paid 800gns for the first prize senior ewe and overall reserve champion from John Mellin’s neighbouring Hull House flock in Hellifield, and 620gns for the second prize ewe from the same exhibitor.

William made his debut in the show arena at this year’s Gargrave Show and plans to exhibit more of his own lambs on the 2013 show circuit. “He is developing his flock with some top quality acquisitions,” said William’s father Paul, who buys prime sheep on a weekly basis at Skipton.

Duncan Mellin with his father’s reserve champion, joined by sponsor Richard Harrison, left, and judge Chris Riby.

Duncan Mellin

Mr Mellin’s February, 2009-born reserve champion is by his 6,500gns acquisition Knock Orocco, out of a home-bred daughter of Garngour Maverick. She has been scanned in-lamb to Bushmills Samson, best stock ram in the 2011 Northern Area Flock Competition. The second in class is also by Knock Orocco and in-lamb to the same ram.

Back with the shearlings, the second prize winner from Procters Farm in Slaidburn, Clitheroe, also achieved four figures. The March-born shearling, by Watchknow Rustic Boy, out of a Clynnog Joe Tex-sired dam, was in-lamb to a Cairnam Talisman daughter. She joined RN Kirkby & Son, of Ainderby Steeple, Northallerton, for 1,150gns.

The pick of the ewe lambs came from the Lancashire-based Brookhill flock of Alex and Gemma Brown, of Tockholes, Darwen. The February-born lamb was by their 4,800gns purchase Tullagh Sheriff, interbreed champion at this year’s Trawden Show, out of a Cowal Keepsake-sired dam who has also produced a ram lamb sold at 1,800gns. The red rosette winner also headed the class prices when selling for 700gns to Scottish breeder A Leggate, of Strathaven in South Lanarkshire.

John Mellin was to the fore again when presenting the second and third prize ewe lambs, the former selling at 400gns to Ormerley Livestock from Hilton, Derbyshire. The relatively new breeders acquired a total of four prize winners at the fixture, including the third and fourth prize shearlings at 620gns and 550gns respectively. The third prize winner came from the Beautry flock of 2011 Skipton champion Stuart Currie, of Rathmell, with Procters Farm also responsible for the fourth in class.

The Keighleys sold a total of ten shearling ewes to average £641. Procters Farm sold five shearlings to average £725, including one at 900gns to Northern Area chairman Steve Richardson, of Great Houghton, Barnsley, while John Mellin’s four shearlings averaged £558. He also sold four aged ewes to average £635, along with five gimmer lambs from 250gns upwards.

With a turnout of 88 Texel females, shearling gimmers sold to an overall average of £463 per head (2011 £485.71), while gimmer lambs averaged £261 (£262). Aged ewes averaged £341.

Show judge was Chris Riby, of Fraisthorpe, Bridlington, and sponsor Richard Harrison, of Skipton-based Harrison Agricultural Supplies.

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