Young livestock enthusiasts shine at National Young Stars

30th August 2017

The third National Young Stars event took place at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire, on Tuesday and Wednesday last week (22nd and 23rd August) with young livestock and butchery enthusiasts travelling from all corners of the UK, as well as an international exchange team from Canada, competing on this fast growing national platform.

Some 100 youngsters ranging from 8 years old up to 24 competed in team sections for pigs, sheep, beef and dairy, as well as individual competitions for butchery. Headline event sponsors Allfex also hosted a shearing demonstration from world record holding shearer Matt Smith.

A switch to hosting the event in the summer rather than previous Easter timings saw youngsters take to the rings of the showground to compete in the sunshine in front of the crowds. All team competitors were battling it out on areas of stock judging, public speaking, marketing and presentation, clipping and presentation, ring craft and overall team work skills.

Some 11 beef teams were put through their paces in front of a team of judges that consisted of Richard Bartle, Herefordshire; Cameron Jackson, Lanark and Alistair Smith, Nottinghamshire, were a team of brothers from Hampshire; Angus, Charlie and Donald McLean, entered under the team name of Brothers in Farms. Sponsored by the British Charolais Cattle Society, they impressed the judges with their professionalism from the minute they arrived at the event. The judges commented that their trimming and presentation skills were of an incredibly high standard and pace for pace in the show ring they were calm with their cattle and incredibly confident in their handling skills.

They also impressed the team of marketing and presentation judges, Rachel Gilder and Hannah Wood from event sponsors Dunbia and NSA ambassador and sponsor representative Rory Gregor who awarded the Charolais team with the highest points across all four livestock entries. The winning team will now look forward to a trip to Canada next spring as part of the international exchange element of the event.

The dairy team section of the competition saw judges Iwan Thomas, Swansea; Tom Lomas, Derbyshire and Mark Knutsford, Cheshire, critique six dairy teams with the ultimate top spot going to The Jersey Girls, represented by Devon-based Rosie Lea Bennett, Jess Ravenhill and coming back to regain last year’s title Emily Davis, all three of which were sponsored by The Jersey Cattle Society. These three individuals impressed the judges with their solid team work and overall presentation. They had a clear work ethic with all rising to the challenge of all the areas of the competition and each took home a £250 gift voucher to be spent with the Allflex Group.

Competition was yet again strong in the pig lines with some 12 teams battling it out for their prize of three pig arks provided by Con-tented Products, as well as various product prizes. Standing top here and impressing judges Nick Kiddy, Bedfordshire; James Sage, Somerset and Denis Elliot, South Yorkshire, on all areas of the competition were The Massey Divas, representing sponsors Massey Feeds and consisting of Grace Bretherton, and sisters Eve and Charlotte Ashcroft from Lincolnshire. This team also received the trophy for the most points across all the teams of the competition with event sponsors Royal Smithfield Club on hand to present their trophy.

While numbers were back in the sheep teams with only four teams competing, quality for such a young age was strong in all the teams and catching the eye of the judges Matthew Gray, Herefordshire and Gethin Havard, Powys, were the Hampshire Down Young Breeders team, consisting of Louie Van Geffen, North Yorkshire; Stephen Short, West Yorkshire and Allie Alvis, Somerset, representing the Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders Association. These youngsters shone in the trimming and presentation side of the competition, as well as their ring craft skills and won a set of Heineger Clippers each.

Coming through top in the butchery section under judge John Holden and receiving a trophy kindly donated by the Royal Smithfield Club was Jess Pugh from the Shropshire-based Ludlow Food Centre. Jess demonstrated fantastic skills throughout the competition and entertained the crowds with commentary throughout the morning.

New to the event this year was an individual under 16 award for a competitor in each of the team competitions who impressed the judges and section stewards throughout the course of the two days. In the beef category this was awarded to Wigtownshire-based Frank Gwynne from Team Simmies, while the dairy winner was Devon-based Emily Davis from the Jersey Girls. Young sheep winner was Derbyshire-based Harvey Heath from the True Blues team, while in the pig section William Oliver, Cheshire, took top place.

Image: Winning the sheep section was the Hampshire Down Young Breeders Team.