Earlier this year my January British Lop show gilt qualified for the Lop of the Year competition. At the various shows around the country there are qualifying classes for gilts and boars born after the 1st of July the previous year. The final then takes place at the Melton Mowbray Show and Sale for Rare Breeds in September.
This is a fairly new competition as the British Lops were excluded from the BPA Pig of the Year competition a couple of years ago (now they are excepted again) so the Lop Society decided to run their own. My gilt qualified at the Cheshire County Show in June. She was actually the reserve British Lop female but the qualifying pig could not go to the final.
A few weeks ago I sold her to John but you are expected to take qualifying pigs to the final so at the weekend I headed south with her to Melton Mowbray. She had just taken the Any Other Traditional Breed January class, the Reserve Any Other Traditional Breed Champion and the carcase class at the Westmorland County Show.
I had a bad start to the four hour journey when the lights on the trailer went out ten miles down the road. I had to come home and swap vehicles with my brother and set off again. I should have arrived at 10.00pm Friday night but with the delay and a sleep on the way I finally unloaded at Melton Market at 6am Saturday. Just enough time to spruce up the pig, grab breakfast and get changed.
The gilts were judged first and a lot of the pigs were unhappy on the tarmac surface but Ashghyll Harmony just kept walking. I thought we were at a disadvantage against older pigs already showing in pig but Ken Matthews the judge awarded us Best Female. Next were the boars and Derek Harrison won Best Male. Now it was up to Ken to choose between the two for British Lop Pig of the Year 2010. Again the gilt walked out well and we were delighted when she was given the title.
Meantime John and Grandson Harry were showing at the one day Penistone Show where Harry won the Young Handlers class with one of John’s new “plum pudding” pigs – the Oxford, Sandy and Blacks. Well done Harry, you will be giving Granddad tips soon!