by Sally Gillespie and Mark Entwistle
IT was a year of firsts at the Border Union Show in Kelso on Friday and Saturday.
For a magnificent Aberdeen Angus cow from David Lucas of Cheeklaw, Duns was judged champion of champions on her first outing this year.
Mr Lucas’s daughter, Sian Sharp, helping show the winning cow and calf, said: “We’re delighted to have won at our local show and my dad is absolutely thrilled. They only came out of the field on July 6.”
There was a record sheep show with an entry of over 900. Record numbers of trade stands attended. And other show firsts proved popular: the new rabbit competition, new donkey classes, the Hebridean Sheep national show making a guest appearance.
And a duck owned by Mr Waddell - a prize winning Call duck owned by breeder Graham Waddell from Broxburn - took the reserve overall ticket.
Champion of champions judge Robin Forrest explained his choices: “I didn’t set out to put the cow first but she was the best beast there.
“She is a really magnificent big cow, smart and ladylike.
“And I thought it was the turn for some for the smaller animals to have a go - they are all champions after all - and the duck was the best of them. It was bright-eyed and caught the eye, it just ticked all the boxes.
“It was a fantastic show, it’s very well run and it was an excellent day.”
The seven-and-a-half year old cow, Cheeklaw Josie Erica, by Tweedside Jewgal Eric, shown with calf at foot (by Easton Grays Joseph Eric, born at the end of April) took the cattle interbreed championship and Centenary Challenge Cup.
Mrs Sharp said: “This is their first show. The last time she was shown was as a yearling in 2005. Her daughter was out today as well and was second in her class. We’re most definitely delighted to have won at our local show and my dad is absolutely thrilled. We never felt confident as they only came out of the field on July 6. She’s been shown once as a yearling, but the other two heifers we brought have never been shown before, so for us it’s fantastic.”
The Joe Walton Challenge Trophy for the interbreed sheep champion went to a 15-month old North Country Cheviot gimmer, on just its third time out in the show ring, and being shown by Roderick Runciman, of Allanshaws near Galashiels.
Judge James Sharp, from Newbigging Walls, near Lauder, said the winner was simply the best sheep.
He said: “This was a very good show of sheep. I thought there were two particularly outstanding animals - the North Country Cheviot and the Texel. It was between the two. The Northie had a bit more sparkle. Something that just drew me to it.
It’s an extremely correct sheep with character and she showed herself off well. After I’d been right through them all for the first time I was absolutely convinced that was the right two. The Cheviot was the winner but it wasn’t by miles.”
Mr Runciman was delighted to have won at what is his local show.
“I’m very, very pleased - it’s the first time I’ve won this. I was reserve about six years ago, but this is the first time overall.”
Although the gimmer had picked up reserve interbreed titles at both the Royal Highland and Yorkshire shows, the win on Saturday at the Border Union clearly meant a lot.
“It’s your local show and it means an awful lot to me to win here. It’s how I’m going to keep it up, I don’t know!” said Mr Runciman. That’s her for this year - she’s getting clipped tomorrow. She might come out in future years, but that’s it for now.”
Taking the hunter championship this year was the 15-year-old brood mare, Tiger Lily, this year’s Midland Counties Show Cuddy in-hand champion, owned by William and Joanna Moran, Houghton le Spring, Country Durham.
She bumped successful local horse, Fusilier, owned by Andrew and Gillian McCowan, Glenholly House, Greenlaw, and fresh from his second supreme championship at St Boswells, into reserve.
Friday brought cool dry weather perfect for the show’s horse classes and Saturday’s beaming sunshine brought out good crowds.
The rabbit and donkey classes proved so popular organisers have asked to return next year - “and it will be a pleasure to have them, they’re adding to the show,” said show secretary Ron Wilson.
He continued: “We try to get the balance between the farming and non farming community.
“It’s a really good show for people to exhibit their livestock or compete with their equine and it’s a wonderful chance for the Borders folk to see a great variety of top class animals: the quality is fantastic. And the beautiful weather made a difference. “