Following our Annual General Meeting in February, the club now has a new Chairman, Mr Bill Heaps, and new Vice Chairman, Mr Alan Tallentire. The committee members this year are Chris Addison, John Morton, John Trafford, Andrew Carter, David Loftus, Ian Lancaster, Wendy Black and John Peile.
Thanks were due to John Morton for being such an excellent Chairman over the last two years, and also Elizabeth Murdock and Rob Addison who stood down from the committee, for all the time and effort they had put in over the last five years, attending meetings and working behind the scenes.
The Auctioneer Suite at Carlisle was once again the place to be on Thursday 28th April for the pre-sale supper. Everyone had the opportunity to meet our special guest the new Breed Promotion & Development Manager, Fiona Sloan, and an excellent meal was enjoyed by all. The raffle contained one or two interesting items and raised a grand total of £90 for club funds.
The Spring Show & Sale on the Friday, was judged by Mr Stephen Peile, Parkgate Hall, Wigton, and was well supported, with the average price just slightly down on last year. From the NW Club, R.H.Carter & Son took the Reserve Male Champion with Gerrard Promise, and W. Heaps with Reserve Female Champion, Rosten Betty, won the NW Perpetual Trophy. Walking off with the top price of 3600gns was Blackpool Promenade, a 19 month old bull from J.D. & A. Loftus of Kirkham, Lancs and close behind at 3200gns was the 15 month old Annanwater Rebel from B.K.Ryder, Moffat, Dumfries. Supreme & Male Champion went to Grangewood Pride, from AS & YA Leedham of Derbyshire, and Female Champion was Holtstead Odette from F. & J. Andrews, Holmfirth.
Next on the NW Club Calendar was our Annual Stockjudging Event, held this year on Sunday 19th June, at Mount Farm, Singleton; it was a case of good food, good company, super weather and cash being given away, and also an opportunity for everyone to see behind the scenes at the Blackpool herd of J.D. & A. Loftus. A lot of hard work involved for all the Loftus family, but every credit to them for a warm welcome and a super turnout of cattle.
Chris Martindale was Master Judge for the day, and top scores went to Chris Addison, Robert Murdock, & Rob Addison (Seniors), Ron Loftus & Ross Pattison, Over 21’s, and for the Junior under 21’s we had a hat-trick of even more Addisons – 1st was James, 2nd was Hugo, and 3rd was Will. The raffle raised £80 for club funds, and Guess the Height of Blackpool Tower raised £25 for the Young Members Association. The correct answer was 518ft 9ins.
Competition at The Royal Show Young Members stockjudging in July was strong, with the teams having to judge Belgian Blues and Blondes as well as Simmentals, and the NW didn’t come away with prizes this time, but thank you to Ron Loftus, Rob Heaps, Ross Pattison & John Barlow for representing us – better luck next time!
Good luck also to the Young Members venturing out to the Canadian Western Agribition in November, Rob Heaps and Rob Fitton selected from the NW area. Their skills will be severely tested when they are asked to judge not only cattle, but also Bison, Elk, Buffalo, Grain and Horses!
The NW Club has been well represented at shows in & around the region this season, with members judging as well as showing (but not at the same time). Cumberland Show was blessed with good weather and good entries, Judge Danny Walkinshaw awarding the Simmental Championship to R.H. Carter & Son’s cow, Gerrard Sally 11th.
The Ralph Lloyd Trophy for best young handler went to Jack & Thomas Peile and the Simmental stand did a roaring trade in beef butties and liquid refreshments.
The Society glasses this year went to Penrith Show, where Bill Heaps was the Simmental judge. Taking home the Championship and the glasses were John & Liz Peile with their in-calf heifer Pasturehouse Miranda’s Malteser.
Westmorland County Show, in September saw Simmental Champion JH & VG Woods’ Popes Nelly’s Princess beating strong opposition to take the Interbreed Championship, and despite gale force winds and heavy rain throughout the previous evening, the sun shone on show day. NW club members rallied round to erect tent, display boards and banners, and man the Simmental Breed Stand throughout the day. Not the biggest stand, but certainly a popular one for visitors.
Also in September, we were privileged to visit Kevin and Yvonne Holliday and family at Strudda Bank, Calderbridge for our annual farm walk. We were fortunate to have superb weather, and the views from their farm were breathtaking. The cattle – pedigree & commercial - perform well on land ranging from 600 to 2000 ft above sea-level, and Kevin proved to be the perfect host, not only informative, but also entertaining, as he showed us round. Buildings, slurry handling, incinerators, costing and funding, breeding, feeding and marketing the end product - he was a mine of information, applying commonsense solutions throughout. He demonstrated the advantages to be gained when farmers join together in a co-operative fashion for things such as contract spraying and sharing of equipment. We even learned how to tell a male tick from a female tick, which arguably may prove to be a useful skill one day! We finished the day with a smashing lunch, served up by Yvonne and family, and all of us took home a good supply of food for thought.
October brought the Perth Bull Sales, with females selling well on the Tuesday, some of which were destined for the North West - two heifers purchased by E.B. Webster, Skipton, and three by R. Huxham, Isle of Man. The trade was somewhat more selective on the Wednesday, with only about half of the bulls forward sold, and the buyers only getting warmed up when the younger bulls started coming through. From the NW club B.K. Ryder’s Annanwater Rascal, at 17 months sold for 4200gns, and W. Heaps’ Rosten Roscoe at 19 months, and with a 3rd prize ticket, for 1900 gns. Both bulls had been successfully shown through the summer, and both were sold into Scotland.
October also saw the return of the NW Simmental Club Award Scheme, which finds the top priced Simmental-sired store and calf sold in NW auctions every month, and rewards the producer with a cash prize. The scheme has received a respectable amount of press coverage, aimed at the commercial market, and we now have nine NW Auctions taking part and trying to claim the Overall Winner for the publicity it generates for their auction.
Congratulations were sent to Andy and Hazel Ryder of Moffat, on their wedding in September at Lockerbie, we wish them all the best for the future. We also send our congratulations to NW Club Committee Member, John Trafford, who has just been elected to serve on the Simmental Society Council. I know John will be working for the best interests of all the members, and for the future of the breed, and it will be good to have a NW representative to keep us informed and involved.
The Autumn Show and Sale at Borderway Mart, Carlisle in November will be judged by Mr Brian Allan, Glenturk, Newton Stewart. Having just sold his young bull Glenturk Rolex for the top price in Perth of 17,000gns, we hope he will not be too hard on the club when it comes to claiming his judging expenses or appearance money!
December will see us celebrating Christmas at a new venue, The Greyhound Hotel, Shap. It promises to be a good night, with the menu highly recommended. Open fires, mulled wine and food prepared using local produce – sounds good, doesn’t it?
Plans are at a very early stage for next year’s Beef Expo 2006, which will be held at Borderway Mart, Carlisle on Friday 2nd June 2006. This will be an opportunity to demonstrate the best attributes of the Simmental to the many visitors, and hopefully we will have a good show of eye-catching cross-bred cattle as well as pedigree animals. Fiona has already attended one of the organizing committee meetings, and will be ready to discuss how our club would like to be involved, and what we would like to see cattle wise.
As we approach the end of 2005, I would like to thank everyone for their help and encouragement throughout the year, especially the committee. Let’s hope 2006 brings with it good health, much wealth, and even more Simmental success.