THE Border Union Show was blessed with sunshine on Friday and Saturday, much to the relief of competitors, show-goers and organisers.
The show went ahead after the layout was changed slightly because of the wet summer. The parade of champions did not take place because, with the changes, the cattle would have had to walk through the crowds to reach the main ring.
Berwickshire couple Andrew and Gillian McCowan’s stunning hunter Fusilier took the champion of champions while the reserve went to a rabbit owned by John and Carole Fletcher from Woolsingham, County Durham.
Kelso judge Jim Jeffrey explained: “The hunter was absolutely outstanding and a clear winner – the movement, style, it was so graceful it would have been very difficult to go past. And the rabbit was a most beautiful beast – you couldn’t help but look at it, it was beautifully presented, alert and with those ears.
“I thoroughly enjoyed judging the champion of champions.”
The McCowans, of Horncliffe Mains, had a good day. Not only did 13-year-old Fusilier take the hunter champion’s ticket after winning it at the Border Union last year, but their thoroughbred cross bay riding horse, Third Time Lucky, took the riding horse championship.
Sheep interbreed judge and former show committee member, Andrew Walton, was choosing a champion for a trophy given in memory of his grandfather, Joe.
He gave Roderick Runciman’s North Country Cheviot the nod, saying: “She handled tremendously well and when I let them go, she’s the one that went round the ring and said ‘I’m the champion’. She had that bit edge on anything else – she’s sharp and alert, extremely good on her legs and she went around that ring as if she owned it.”
Mr Runciman, of Allanshaws, Galashiels was winning both the breed championship and the interbreed title for the second year in a row. It was again with a gimmer, bred the same way, out of a homebred ewe and sired by Synton Bullseye.
Mr Runciman said: “She’s as correct a sheep as I could find at home. Winning today compares with winning the Highland [he took the breed championship earlier this year with Synton Bullseye]: this is our local show and it’s really good. There is a very good show of sheep here today.”
Mr Runciman bought Synton Bullseye, bred by Selkirk farmers Jock and Scott Davies of North Synton and sired by the homebred Allanshaws Doubletop, at Lockerbie for £2,200 as a one-shear.
Saturday’s winning gimmer was first in her class at the Highland Show in June.
Reserve went to Alan Cowens of Philiphaugh Old Mill, Selkirk with a three crop Lairg-type Cheviot ewe being shown for the first time.
The Berwick mother-and-son team of Helen Redden and Anthony Renton, of Clarence House, Shielfield won the cattle interbreed ticket with their prize-winning Limousin cow, Lodge Blush, with calf at foot
Mr Redden said: “We are absolutely delighted. It’s quite an honour to win an interbreed, particularly at Kelso where the standard of the native breeds is very, very high.”
Judge John McIntosh said: “She is a lovely cow and she has a beautiful calf. It was impossible to go by her.”
The reserve went to Jan Boomaars of Stickle Heaton Farm, Cornhill with his Charolais heifer, Vexour Flirt.
Commenting on the two-day event, show secretary Ron Wilson said: “We were delighted with the way the show went and delighted with the support of the exhibitors and the public. Once again the comments from many people were ‘what a friendly show’ and ‘what a lovely atmosphere’. The stewards, conveners and everyone involved in putting on the show did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances.
“Provisional indications suggest that numbers are very similar to last year, which is fantastic.
“We never had any doubt the show would go ahead but we moved things around and the only thing out of the norm was that we didn’t have the grand parade for the health and safety reason that we couldn’t walk the cattle through the crowds.”