Sunshine helps make two-day event as big a success as ever

Champion of Champions at Kelso's Border Union Show, lot 79 JRB Wilson & Sons. 7 year old Romany 1 Julia A84 F51 .
Champion of Champions at Kelso's Border Union Show, lot 79 JRB Wilson & Sons. 7 year old Romany 1 Julia A84 F51 .

This year’s inter-breed champions at Kelso’s Border Union Show came from the Hereford herd of Robert and Ron Wilson at Cowbog, Yetholm, and Roderick Runciman’s North Country Cheviot flock at Allanshaws, near Galashiels.

Beef interbreed champion Hereford cow Romany 1 Julia, a seven-year-old cow, also went on to sweep the board for the Wilsons and take the prestigious champion of champions’ title.

Border Union Show at Kelso

Border Union Show at Kelso

It was shown with its fifth calf, the October-born Romany 1 Julia St N34, led by Robert’s daughter Lottie.

The home-bred heifer was female and reserve champion at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate, having not been shown since 2010.

The Wilsons also took the prize for reserve male in the Herefords, with a three-year-old bull.

And after more than 900 exhibits in the sheep rings battled it out to catch the eye of the judges, it was a North Country Cheviot gimmer, Allanshaws Fiona, brought along by Roderick, that took the top spot and went on to be named reserve in the show’s champion of champions event.

The reserve inter-breed beef champion was Angus bull Fenland My Prize P001, from the Gordon Brooke Estate at Earlston.

The reserve sheep title went to a home-bred pedigree Suffolk shearling ewe belonging to Scott and Gavin Brown, of Gorebridge.

The skies had cleared from mid-morning on Friday, and the sun burst through the clouds and made sure there were smiles on pretty much all the faces that streamed through Springwood Park’s gates for the two days of the Border Union Show.

There was also a big smile on the face of Ron Wilson.

The Border Union Agricultural Show at Springwood Park in Kelso.

The Border Union Agricultural Show at Springwood Park in Kelso.

As well as the excitement of seeing the family Hereford herd do well in the show rings, he was happy in his role as Border Union Agricultural Society secretary.

That was not only because of the welcome warm weather a rise in entry numbers, but also the fact that there were clearly so many people out enjoying one of southern Scotland’s biggest public annual events.

“Yes, we were very happy with the weather, not surprisingly, as it makes all the difference to getting the people out to the show, but we are also happy with the large number of very complimentary comments we heard from show visitors and exhibitors,” he told us. “It makes the whole thing worthwhile when people are happy and enjoying themselves.

“Obviously, the society hopes to make some money from it to help wash its face, but the event is designed to showcase the best in livestock, crafts and trade stands that the south of Scotland can offer, as well as to give farming families and the general public a great couple of days out.”

The Border Union Agricultural Show at Springwood Park in Kelso. Lewis Runciman holds Roderick Runciman's overall Cheviot winner from Allanshaws in Stow.

The Border Union Agricultural Show at Springwood Park in Kelso. Lewis Runciman holds Roderick Runciman's overall Cheviot winner from Allanshaws in Stow.

Ron believes Friday’s visitor numbers will be on a par with the 2015 event and that those for Saturday will see a rise on last year.

“I’m pretty certain the Saturday numbers were up on last year,” he said.

“The two wee showers on Saturday didn’t seem to have any impact on numbers, and there were no reports of any major problems, so we’re very happy with what seems to have been a happy show.”

And Ron could also be forgiven for his smile being just a wee bit broader by Saturday afternoon, when the family’s Hereford heifer from their 200-strong pedigree herd at Cowbog scooped the champion of champions title.

Romany 1 Julia was handled by Robert, who oversees the Cowbog herd, and the calf at foot was led during all the classes by Robert’s daughter, Lottie.

“She did very well. I was really proud of her,” said Ron, referring to his granddaughter.

As for Robert, he too could not have been more pleased with either Romany 1 Julie or his daughter.

“It’s fantastic to take the champion of champions title at a show like the Border Union, which remains one of the biggest remaining livestock classes,” Robert told us.

“Not only is it great to win, but it’s great to take part in an event that has given such long-standing support to local farmers here in the Borders and further afield.

“And it was really nice seeing my daughter do so well as a handler.

“Romany 1 Julia is probably the easiest going cow in our herd and was the perfect introduction for her to get used to showing.”

Results and more photos in eight-page pullout in middle of this week’s paper.