CHAROLAIS breeders pulled out all of the stops for the inaugural Bank of Ireland NI National Charolais Championship at the 100th Clogher Valley Show. They came from across the province, putting on a tremendous show demonstrating the quality breeding on offer and the reason why Charolais are topping the market.
The event was sponsored by Bank of Ireland and Richard Primrose was on hand for the day along with other colleagues. He said “On behalf of Bank of Ireland UK, I would like to thank the NI Charolais club and the organisers of Clogher Valley Show for hosting a very successful NI Charolais Championship. There was a superb range of Charolais cattle of all ages on display. It was excellent to see so many cattle from breeders across the whole of Northern Ireland taking part. Bank of Ireland UK are proud to support one of most popular and important breeds to the Northern Ireland beef industry.”
The competition boasted with over 60 entries ranging from calves through to senior males and females.
There was no stopping Brownhill Mo on the day, shown by the Devine Brothers. The in-calf heifer swept all before her, winning the Senior Heifer Class, Senior Female champion and then taking the Overall Supreme Charolais Championship. Not content with the Charolais Championship, she then took on the other breeds and was awarded Beef Interbreed Supreme Champion.
Later in the day, Mo went on to compete for the prestigious title of Clogher Show Champion of Champions, where she stood alongside the dairy cow from the McLean family and the commercial champion of the day which was the Charolais cross bullock ‘Paddington’, sired by Deeside Gulliver and exhibited by Nigel and Sandra Cochrane.
It was a dream come true day for brothers Thomas and Richie from Ballymagorry, Strabane, when Mo took the title, her second “Champion of Champions” in the month, having already taken the Reserve Charolais Championship at Balmoral and a range of championships at local shows. This smart heifer has been on a winning streak across the show circuit and has the pedigree to support it, sired by 12000gns Maerdy Fiend, with homebred mother Indigo and grandmother Foxy both gathering top ribbons during their show careers.
Taking Charolais Reserve Supreme Champion was Brigadoon Nevada, the homebred heifer exhibited by WD & JA Connolly, Ballynahinch. Sired by their stock bull “Icon” who has been stamping his mark on the herd since his purchase at Stirling Bull sales from the Goldies family three years ago, this stylish yearling also scooped second reserve in the Beef Interbreed Champion of Champions.
Charolais judge for the day was David Barker of the Cayler herd from Hertfordshire. David is a well-known breeder and judge. He said it was a privilege to travel to Northern Ireland to judge the national Charolais show and he had a fantastic experience.
“The Irish hospitality was unbelievable and a credit to all the Northern Ireland Charolais Club members and the show organisers.” He went on to say that “the exhibitors produced a great show of cattle and were a credit to all involved. The champion was an exceptional heifer with tremendous breed character, size, presence and style.
The reserve champion was a young stylish heifer who was very correct, well balanced and has a great future ahead of her.”
The Connolly family claimed a host of accolades at the one-day event, with a 17 strong team out on the day including Reserve Senior Female with Brigadoon Lady, a first calving heifer with her bull calf at foot. She was sired by Brigadoon Himself and is a grand-daughter of Brampton Petition. Lady was Reserve Junior Female Champion at the calf championships in 2015.
The Connolly family were also awarded Senior Male Champion with their new stock bull, Maxamus, purchased at the Stirling Bull sales in February this year. Fresh from the field, this young bull has been running with the cows at the Brigadoon herd since his first appearance in Northern Ireland at Balmoral show.
The Junior Bull Championship and also overall Male Champion was awarded to Killadeas Norman, bred by S & D Bothwell, Ballinamallard. He is sired by their stock bull Gwenog Braveheart and out of homebred Dainty, both of whom have bred many prize winners and sale toppers for the Bothwell family.
Brigadoon Nebulus bred by WD & JA Connolly, another Goldies Icon son, took the reserve spots for the Junior Bull Championship and Overall Male Championship. His mother Heather, also a homebred cow, was a successful show heifer for the Connolly family.
Birches Oliva, bred by Nigel and Gail Matchett, claimed the Reserve Junior female championship. This Ainside Foreman daughter will have a bright future.
The award for Champion pairs went to the Connolly family who exhibited their 3-year-old first calving heifers Brigadoon Lady and Lolly with their bull calves at foot. Standing in reserve was also from the Brigadoon herd with their yearling heifers Nevada and Nyoko.
Success continued in the Interbreed classes for the Charolais breed when Nigel and Gail Matchett were awarded the Champion Heifer spot with the first placed heifer Birches Nancy, sired by Doonally New. Meanwhile in the Interbreed mixed pairs, it was the Bothwell family who were awarded the Champion ribbons with the Connolly family in Reserve.
David Connolly, Club Chairman, commented “On behalf on the club I would like to thank our sponsors Bank of Ireland for their financial support and attendance at the National Show, it’s great to see their interest in our breeding standards and the beef industry. We are also indebted to the British Charolais Society for their continued help and support to the NI club.
“Thanks must also go to the management and staff of Clogher Valley show for hosting the championship.”
In the ring with David was Kevin Reavey who was shadowing the judge as part of the Youth Judging programme. Kevin took top spot at British Charolais National Junior Stock judging competition earlier in the month, and alongside team-mate Alan Burleigh they clinched the top pair position. The pair will now travel to France representing the British Charolais Society.
Also, in the young handler’s ring, first place went to Orlagh McGovern as she clinched the title of the Senior Young Handler in the Interbreed section.