GALLERY: The Royal Bath & West Show 2024 did not disappoint with calibre of livestock

A great calibre of livestock was in attendance at this year’s Royal Bath & West Show, and no stone was left unturned by judges in the ring, the organiser confirms. 

A great calibre of livestock was in attendance at this year’s Royal Bath & West Show, and no stone was left unturned by judges in the ring.
Interbreed Beef Champion with Millie & Boomer Birch.

Beef kick-started the interbreed championships on Thursday 30th May with the Supreme Champion title going to Millie and Boomer Birch’s homebred Highsky Erin’s Enchantment, which is a stunning example of the native Beef Shorthorn.  

Judges awarded the three-year-old top spot for Beef Shorthorn Cow or Heifer, Female Champion, Best Exhibitor Bred, and overall Breed Champion before judge Jimmy Mcmillan tapped her out for the coveted Interbreed title, all with her bull calf Highsky Tomahawk at foot.  

Winning Interbreed Supreme Champion earlier in May at the North Somerset Show, Enchantment was also the Royal Welsh Breed Champion and Reserve Interbreed Champion in 2022, before being crowned ‘Miss Europe 22’ at the Shorthorn Breeder’s online Champion of the World competition in the same year.

Out of Caramba Erin’s Kiss and by Carrarock Chalkie, Enchantment was flushed as a yearling heifer and her first embryo daughter, Highsky Enchantments Empress, is following in her mother’s footsteps with promising calf show accolades. 

The Stafford-based Birch family is unwaveringly dedicated to their stock, with great ambitions for both their pedigree Shorthorns and pedigree Herefords.  

Mrs Birch, who was just three weeks shy of her own due date, said: “We’d like to be at the Three Counties Show – and it would be the dream to take Interbreed Champion at the Royal Welsh later in the summer.” 

It still hasn’t sunk in yet 

Interbreed Sheep Champion 2 with Jock and daughter Annie Muirhead.

Reserve champion went to Tom Hilsdon and Aimee Hunter with their homebred British Limousin, Poole Treasure, a January 2022-born heifer out of Wilodge Mizdiamante, sired by Powerful Irish. 

Miss Hunter said: “We’re very happy with what Treasure has achieved today. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to get animals fit for show day – Tom puts in so much work.” 

Poole Treasure also counts British Limousin Heifer, Female Champion, and Breed Champion as wins at this year’s show. 

Friday 31st May was a big day for the Interbreed Supreme Championships across the dairy, sheep and pig sections. 

Dairy Interbreed Supreme Championship scooped the Holstein Withamhall Pepper Hester 4 EX92. Bred and exhibited by Clare Cox, the fourth calver was haltered a mere three weeks before the show – and is every bit the working cow. 

 Ms Cox explained: “Last year, just after the Dairy Show, we had the classifier at the farm, and they asked if we’d taken her to the Dairy Show. 

“They were quite surprised when we said we hadn’t because I wasn’t sure if, at the time, she was good enough.” 

Fast forward to this year’s Royal Bath & West Show and Ms Cox was in a bit of shock.  

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” she said. “She’s a fantastic cow – recording >14,000 litres over a 305-day lactation – she literally walked out of the parlour the day before the show, so she really is a working cow.” 

Judge Alan Thomas said that the cow had presence in the ring; big and upstanding, straight and level – a beautiful topline.  

Out of Withamhall Danillo Hester 2 and sired by Delaberge Pepper, she is now going home to be dried off on the Cox’s family 120-cow farm based near Frome, Somerset. 

Interbreed Beef Champion.

 “We would like her to be ready to take to the Dairy Show in the autumn; we’re really keen to see how she does there. 

“It’s a family effort, so we are all thrilled to take home Breed Champion, Best Exhibitor Bred, and Interbreed Champion titles,” Ms Cox added. 

She’s still got it 

Reserve went to the Devon-based Greenway Ayrshires for Greenway Ross Great Jubilee, the last year’s Interbreed Dairy Champion.  

Bred by Les and Tracey Rockett and exhibited by their daughter Abi Marshall, the family is delighted to clinch the reserve spot. 

Ms Marshall said: “She’s a really excellent cow. Producing 42 litres/day – she’s a tank but well balanced with a very good udder and mobility. 

“At nine years old she’s still got it – we were also very pleased with her Reserve Champion Interbreed title at Devon County Show earlier in May.”  

Her progeny are carrying the winning trait, with Greenway Platinum Jubilee taking Champion Ayrshire at Exeter Calf Show last autumn. 

Interbreed Pig Champion.

Making the hard work worthwhile 

Interbreed Sheep Champion.

In the sheep ring, the two-shear Border Leicester Westforth Walk On, shown by Jock and Katherine Muirhead, took the Interbreed Supreme Championship after clinching the Native Champion title.  

Mrs Muirhead said: “We’re overwhelmed and so proud. It makes all the late nights and hard work worthwhile.” 

Judge John Campbell remarked that the quality of sheep classes had been second to none, making it a very good day for judges, but no easy task to tap out the very best.  

“They’re all champions; all very good sheep, especially with the spring we’ve just had. 

“It’s also been wonderful to see the young handlers – the future of the sheep sector and our shows,” he said. 

Hailing from West Somerset, the flock is in Muirhead’s five-year-old daughter’s name, Annie Muirhead, with 20 pedigree Border Leicesters alongside a 100-strong flock of North Country Mules. 

Ring presence 

Reserve spot went to Chris and Nick Lockyer’s Crayola Galentine, their Dutch Spotted shearling ewe, which also took Breed Champion and Continental Champion.  

Based in Honiton, Devon, the Lockyers were over the moon with the results.  

“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Mr Lockyer. “She has such style and is so calm in the ring, but has the ring presence to go with it.”  

Mr Lockyer was also encouraged by the 70-plus Dutch Spotted entries at this year’s show, which he said is brilliant to see supported.  

Standing out from the rest 

The Southdown Sheep Society’s National Show, which was hosted over the course of the event, marked a fantastic turnout.  

Under judge Nick Page, Jonathan and Chrissie Long’s unbeaten shearling ewe Chaileybrook 23/01772, was tapped out as the National Champion.  

Sired by Chaileybrook the Stag and out of a Dartagnan daughter, prominent Southdown genetics, the champion added to the Long family’s collection of rosettes to take home, including Reserve Champion with Chaileybrook’s full brother Chaileybrook 24/02116. 

Together with the pigs, the line-up for Interbreed Supreme Champion featured the rare British Lop pig and the lesser-known Duroc, a breed originating from the USA.  

To the delight of the Loveless family from Dorset, it was Hayley Loveless’ Duroc gilt – Hazeway Havnbjerg, that claimed top spot. 

The September-born gilt adds to Miss Loveless’ Interbreed Supreme Champion streak, after taking the title the previous two years with Hazeway Clyde in 2023 and Hazeway Thunder in 2022.  

She said: “I’m really pleased; I selected her because she really stands out from the rest of my pigs. She’s got a good ham and great teat placement and a great presence – I’ve always liked her.”  

Dairy Interbreed Champion.

Strong contenders 

Judge Steve Richardson said he was impressed with the line-up. 

“They were all strong contenders. I choose the Duroc as my Supreme Champion – she’s got the best conformation I’ve seen here and is just a superb gilt, with good feet and movement.” 

Reserve went to Martin Snell’s Yeovil-based homebred Large Black, Sock Doreen 251. The gilt is four weeks in-pig and was also impressive under the judge’s eye.  

“She is a great example of the breed,” said Mr Richardson. “It was a deliberation – but she is an absolutely fantastic pig.” 

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