I was a bit disappointed when the judge selected LOWPARK RAJAH as winner of the Saddleback boar class placing my COAL YEAT GRAND DUKE in second place. Why? Because Grand Duke, the son of my 2011 Champion of Champion boar, has a perfect 16 teat underline with 4 teats on both side in front of his sheath, as well as being well put together. However, the judge on the day is always correct as they make the decisions that count!
Both are currently working serving the January Saddleback gilts to ensure they farrow in January 2013 (some of these served gilts will shortly be for sale).
RAJAH, well shown by Steve Richardson, my guest show master for the day, did go on to win the Saddleback breed championship. I also won the Oxford Sandy and Black and the Hampshire breed championship. So, had 3 different breeds in the interbreed championship, which I eventually won with my very large, mature, 3 year old Hampshire sow. She dominated the interbreed final with her size, stature and quality, being only a week or two from farrowing.
It was a shame that this very wet summer meant that several exhibitors that had entered pigs failed to turn up on the day due to harvesting commitments. The most noticeable were the Mulkeens and Wreaks, as their pigs are always the ones to beat. Out of the 26 pigs of 4 different breeds, which my team exhibited the one pig that has been aimed at Westmorland County Show, was awarded the overall champion pig.
Also on display to the public throughout the show were a Saddleback sow and her 11 piglets, which is always a crowd puller and enabled us to publicize the pigkeeping courses to the public.
Westmorland County Show is the largest collection of pigs in the UK for a one day show. It offers free pens to every exhibitor who shows pigs, good prize money and individual breed classes. Yet it needs more exhibitors to ensure the continued vitality, so please if you show pigs do pencil us in for next year (second Thursday of September).
A big thanks to my team of helpers. Especially Imogen who has matured, although only 9 years old, into a formidable pig handler in the show ring. And to Stuart and Jess who polished, washed and oiled the pigs for us to show. Yes I took the pigs into the ring and showed the champion pig! Who is Jess? A vet student from Liverpool university who has been on a two week placement and she finished off showing a Saddleback July gilt and taking the first prize red rosettes!
It may be hard work, thrown in at the deep end but the students get real hands on experience, which will be with them for life. Well done Jess!
Meanwhile Carole was cleaning up the Lop classes and was awarded the Lop championship with her homebred January Lop pig. She also took the carcase class, sponsored by Aireys Butchers. We will be visiting them on our butchery course on the 21 of October.
The course is booking up well but there are still places available so please do not leave it until the last minute to book. We look forward to a great day.