It's show time!
The burgeoning interest in the Beef Shorthorn breed has seen an increase in entries at shows and sales, all around the UK, to the extent that the Breed had the highest number of entries at many of the major shows last year. Although not every breeder is an advocate of the show scene, it does provide a great opportunity to show your stock off at their best to a wide audience and hopefully to prospective customers. It is also a great shop window for the breed.
A few issues have arisen during last show season and so here are a few reminders from the Directors to ensure the Beef Shorthorn is seen in the best light and to remind exhibitors of a few points that occasionally get forgotten:
Many shows state in their regulations that animals entered must be registered in, or eligible for registration, in the appropriate Society Herd Book. In the case of Beef Shorthorns this means that Grading Register animals will not be eligible to compete at these shows.
The judges at shows are appointed by the agricultural show society. Nominations may have been sent to the show by the Society, but the appointment is the show’s decision. The Society does ask judges not to judge two shows in the same geographical area in the same year, but again it is the show’s choice.
Cattle are being turned out to an ever-higher standard – please make sure handlers also make the grade. White coats without advertising logos, a collar and tie (Society tie preferable), tidy trousers and appropriate clean boots will ensure you don’t let the cattle down. Unless it is very wet underfoot - no wellingtons please!
At a sale, if the stock are being led in the sale ring during the auction, handlers should follow the dress code above.
It is never appropriate to answer your mobile phone in the ring. Turn it off or leave it outside with someone if you are waiting for an urgent call. Likewise leave cigarettes and chewing gum for outside the ring.
The judge on the day has come to give their opinion and that is why you have gone to show your cattle. No two judges will ever hold exactly the same opinion and although it can be disappointing to stand down the line there is always another day. Many judges will visit the lines after judging and are happy to discuss their reasons with you. This can be invaluable feedback for exhibitors so please remain courteous at all times.
Social media is a great way to promote your show successes and your herd, but please think twice before making any negative remarks.
The stock lines are just as important as the show ring as part of the shop window. Please ensure that your cattle are kept clean and well bedded. Muck should be taken out of the shed – most shows have guidance on this. If your cattle are not well looked after, you let your fellow exhibitors down.
Team selection – at the major shows, teams are often selected to represent the breed in interbreed competitions. This is usually done by the breed judge, accompanied by one or two appointed directors that have not been exhibiting. Please make sure that you make your cattle available to the selectors after the breed judging if asked. It should be seen as an honour to be asked to represent your breed in a team, so please make sure that you have your animal ready in plenty of time. Cows should always be accompanied by their calf in classes and in the teams. If you are short of a handler, other exhibitors are generally willing to lend a hand.
Cattle parades – the grand livestock parades at shows are often a highlight of the ring programme and champion, reserve champion and prize winners should parade as a matter of course. Every exhibitor should try and parade at least one of their animals. Don’t leave it to your fellow exhibitors to fly the breed flag!
Results from the major shows will be published in the journal and on the website. Local shows can also send in their results for publishing on the website. There is a format that these have to be submitted in – and if any exhibitor would like to send the full results for their local show, you can find the template on the website under ‘The Society’ tab: ‘Downloadable Documents’, or ask the Breed Secretary to send you the proforma. It would be very helpful if results could be returned on this proforma typed rather than handwritten.
Please remember that at a show or sale you are not only representing your own cattle but also the breed. The atmosphere in the Beef Shorthorn lines is one that many other breeds are envious of. The friendliness of exhibitors makes it a pleasure to show – let’s keep it that way and make sure we do the breed proud.
Sally Horrell, BSCS President