By Julie Hazelton
The McCormick family’s noted Hilltara Herd scored a hat-trick in the Holstein showring at the 16th annual multi-breed dairy calf show, held at Ballymena Mart.
The 300-cow Bangor-based herd, owned by Sam, Patricia, John and Kathryn McCormick, secured first prizes rosettes in three successive calf classes, and went on to dominate the championship line-up.
English judge Claire Swale selected the Hilltara trio from a short-lead of five class winners which she described as the best on parade: “I really admire these five calves, and they clearly define the type of calf that I am looking for. They are all feminine, well-grown for age, have a hard top, deep body capacity, and should develop and mature into great Holstein cows.”
Tapping out her overall ch-ampion, and exhibitor-bred award winner, Claire Swale described Hilltara Atwood Maude 10 ET as the complete package: “This is a super young heifer with great overall balance, and superb rib and body capacity. She treks well on good legs and feet.”
The 10-month-old Hilltara At-wood Maude 10 ET was sired by Mapledowns IGW Atwood, and is bred from Hilltara Fever Maude 5 VG89. Her granddam Hilltara Damion Maude 5 SP EX92 is a former Balmoral Show prize winner.
Claiming the reserve ch-ampionship, and the reserve exhibitor-bred award, was the
eight-month-old Hilltara Doorman Charlotte. Sired by Val Bisson Doorman, she is bred from Hilltara Dempsey Charlotte 2 VG88. Her granddam Hilltara Talent Charlotte 6 ET EX94 (5) has produced a lifetime production of 110,000 kilos.
The honourable mention award went to Hilltara Doorman Wendy 4, an 11-month-old Val Bisson Doorman daughter, bred this time from Hilltara Cashcoin Wendy.
Claire Swale commented: “My championship line-up features heifers that are all well matched. They ooze extreme style, deep open rib, and have all the attributes of a quality Holstein calf.”
Almost 40 Holstein Young Breeders’ Club members com-peted in the showmanship classes. Claiming the Hamish Logan Trophy for the champion handler was senior class winner Lauren Henry from Stranocum.
Runner-up was junior competitor James Gregg from Glarryford. Taking the honourable mention award was intermediate class winner Tom McKnight from Lisburn.
Sixteen boys and girls aged between two-and-a-half and nine-years-old took part in the novice showmanship class. Winner was David Hamilton from Bangor.
Claire Swale concluded: “I would like to thank the NI Holstein Young Breeders’ Club for a very warm welcome. Congratulations to the organisers on a successful show.
“A tremendous amount of work and effort goes into preparing for a show like this. Thank you to the parents and the kids who have worked tirelessly training calves in the months leading up to the event. Well done to the prize winners and everyone involved.”
HYB co-ordinator Andrew Patton thanked Claire Swale for giving up her time to judge the show. “Thanks also to our valued sponsors Thompsons, Western Farm Enterprises and World Wide Sires; and last but not least our stewards, commentator Michael Taaffe, and photographer Jane Steel.”