Back in April Steph Dick, Millie Hendy and Issy Hartley were celebrating their success at the inaugural National Young Stars competition held at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, under the name of the “Blue Bandit” British Blue team, along with NW Auctions budding young star Will Alexander who won the Young Auctioneer Challenge.
Off the back of their win, these four livestock enthusiasts won the fantastic change to attend the Royal Winter Fair in Torronto, Canada, for the chance to compete on a Canadian national stage in the show ring with leading 4-H competitors and see first hand what auctioneering Canadian style is really like.
The trip, which is organised as part of an exchange with “Team Canada” who competed in Malvern and came second to the UK team, Steph, Millie and Issy getting to know their show calves. All three got to prepare their calves, along with help from members of Wellington County 4-H, before competing in both showmanship and conformation classes. Quickly learning a rather different showing style and technique to what their more commonly used to, all three did the UK proud with Issy qualifying in her intermediate heat going through to the semi finals and both Stephanie and Millie narrowly missing out on qualification in strong senior classes.
Showmanship judge Dave Vikse, Alberta, commented afterwards on three of the UK competitors saying: “It’s not easy changing a showing style you’ve been perfecting for many years and all three girls paraded their calves well. With a bit more experience it wouldn’t be long before they were up with the best of the best 4-H exhibitors.”
The second day of competition saw the girls take to the ring again, this time for conformation classes of which all three came a credible fourth in strong classes under leading commercial judge Emily Griffiths, Indiana.
Alongside ringside competitions, all three UK exhibitors got the chance to work alongside leading Canadian Hereford, Beef Shorthorn and Aberdeen-Angus breeders at the show with Angus breeder Bill Jackson offering Steph, Millie and Issy the chance to return to Canada to work on the show circuit with him. “I was so impressed with the girl’s attitude and commitment to their calves throughout the show and I’d be honoured to have them work for me at a show or on the home farm. They’re a credit to the National Young Stars event.”
Commenting on the event, National Young Stars chairman Neil Lloyd said: “It was an honour to take Steph, Millie, Issy and Will out to Canada to show case their skills on such a wide platform. The exchange is a valuable experience for both the UK team and the Canadian team and with the help of 4-H co-ordinator Karen Mansfield we look forward to welcoming a new Canadian team to the UK to compete in Malvern at the end of March.”
Auctioneer winner Will Alexander, who impressed judge Clive Roads of McCartneys to take the 2015 title, got the chance to meet some of Canada’s finest auctioneers and take part in handling the telephone bidding in the noted Queen’s Guineas steers auction. “It was a fantastic experience to be part of a world renowned sale. The style of selling is much faster than in the UK with a number of spotters working all corners of the ring,” commented Will.
The National Young Stars representatives would like to thank the Three Counties Agricultural Society and main line event sponsors for the opportunity to attend the Royal Winter Fair and the 4-H project for lending calves for the event.