The third National Young Stars event took place at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire, on Tuesday and Wednesday last week (22nd and 23rd August) with young livestock and butchery enthusiasts travelling from all corners of the UK, as well as an international exchange team from Canada, competing on this fast growing national platform.

Some 100 youngsters ranging from 8 years old up to 24 competed in team sections for pigs, sheep, beef and dairy, as well as individual competitions for butchery. Headline event sponsors Allfex also hosted a shearing demonstration from world record holding shearer Matt Smith.

A switch to hosting the event in the summer rather than previous Easter timings saw youngsters take to the rings of the showground to compete in the sunshine in front of the crowds. All team competitors were battling it out on areas of stock judging, public speaking, marketing and presentation, clipping and presentation, ring craft and overall team work skills.

Some 11 beef teams were put through their paces in front of a team of judges that consisted of Richard Bartle, Herefordshire; Cameron Jackson, Lanark and Alistair Smith, Nottinghamshire and on winning form were a team of brothers from Hampshire; Angus, Charlie and Donald McLean, entered under the team name of Brothers in Farms.

Sponsored by the British Charolais Cattle Society, they impressed the judges with their professionalism from the minute they arrived at the event. The judges commented that their trimming and presentation skills were of an incredibly high standard and pace for pace in the show ring they were calm with their cattle and incredibly confident in their handling skills.

They also impressed the team of marketing and presentation judges, Rachel Gilder and Hannah Wood from event sponsors Dunbia and NSA ambassador and sponsor representative Rory Gregor who awarded the Charolais team with the highest points across all four livestock entries. The winning team will now look forward to a trip to Canada next spring as part of the international exchange element of the event.

Coming in second in the beef area were the Canadian team consisting of Kade Earley, Katelynne Thomson and Jared Ball. Having come through their own qualification process in Canada, this team excelled in all areas of the competition, particularly impressing in stockjudging and ring craft judge Richard Bartle who felt they grasped the different styles of judging and showing with ease.

Meanwhile, the third place beef team consisted of Emma McAlister, Isle of Bute; Louise Allan, Ayrshire; and James Wightman, Stirlingshire, representing the Super Simmies and sponsored by the British Simmental Cattle Society, while in fourth place were the Limousin Leaders, a team sponsored by the British Limousin Cattle Society and represented by Amy and Alan Lindsay, West Lothian and Iona Smith, Ayrshire.

The dairy team section of the competition saw judges Iwan Thomas, Swansea; Tom Lomas, Derbyshire and Mark Knutsford, Cheshire, critique six dairy teams with the ultimate top spot going to The Jersey Girls, represented by Devon-based Rosie Lea Bennett, Jess Ravenhill and coming back to regain last year’s title Emily Davis, all three of which were sponsored by The Jersey Cattle Society.

These three individuals impressed the judges with their solid team work and overall presentation. They had a clear work ethic with all rising to the challenge of all the areas of the competition and each took home a £250 gift voucher to be spent with the Allflex Group.

Coming in second were the Red Rockets, a team sponsored by Shorthorn Sires and represented by Fiona Birtles and Robert Crank from Cheshire and Lucy Morgan from Shropshire.

Third place here went to the British Friesian Youth team, consisting of Liam Banns, Norfolk; Nyomi Band, Fife and Abi Marshall, Devon, while in fourth place were Dave Madely, Somerset, Harry Davis, West Yorkshire and Hannah Morgan, Shropshire, representing The Shorthorn Show Stoppers, a team sponsored by the Dairy Shorthorn Cattle Society.

Competition was yet again strong in the pig lines with some 12 teams battling it out for their prize of three pig arks provided by Con-tented Products, as well as various product prizes.

Standing top here and impressing judges Nick Kiddy, Bedfordshire; James Sage, Somerset and Denis Elliot, South Yorkshire, on all areas of the competition were The Massey Divas, representing sponsors Massey Feeds and consisting of Grace Bretherton, and sisters Eve and Charlotte Ashcroft from Lincolnshire. This team also received the trophy for the most points across all the teams of the competition with event sponsors Royal Smithfield Club on hand to present their trophy.

Coming in second in the pig section were the Spotty Trotters, a team sponsored by the Gloucestershire Old Spots Breeders Club and represented by Sarah Whitley and Ella Kirtley, Yorkshire and Oliver Lightfoot from Gloucestershire, while third place went to Reegan and Morgan Roberts, Warwickshire and William Oliver, Cheshire, of Back to Back from the Large Black Pig Breeders Club.

Then coming in fourth were the team, Spot on Collinson, representing Collinson plc and made up from Thomas Hayton, Lancashire; Charles Jackson, Lancashire and William Hicks, Warwickshire.

While numbers were back in the sheep teams with only four teams competing, quality for such a young age was strong in all the teams and catching the eye of the judges Matthew Gray, Herefordshire and Gethin Havard, Powys, were the Hampshire Down Young Breeders team, consisting of Louie Van Geffen, North Yorkshire; Stephen Short, West Yorkshire and Allie Alvis, Somerset, representing the Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders Association.

These youngsters shone in the trimming and presentation side of the competition, as well as their ring craft skills and won a set of Heineger Clippers each.

Second place in the sheep teams went to the C R Trimmers; Cosmo and Brodie Summerfield, Shropshire and Nicholas Webb, Worcestershirerepresenting sponsors McConnels and the Coloured Ryeland Society, while in third were the True Blues team from the Blue Texel Sheep Society in the form of Harvey Heath, Derbyshire; Ted Lloyd, Herefordshire and Jack Bodily, Monmouthshire.

Then in fourth place was the Shropshire Young Shepherds team, representing the Shropshire Sheep Breeders Association and consisting of George Clay, Ledbury; Ellie Russell, Gloucestershire and Owen Powell, Shropshire.

Coming through top in the butchery section under judge John Holden and receiving a trophy kindly donated by the Royal Smithfield Club was Jess Pugh from the Shropshire-based Ludlow Food Centre. Jess demonstrated fantastic skills throughout the competition and entertained the crowds with commentary throughout the morning.

New to the event this year was an individual under 16 award for a competitor in each of the team competitions who impressed the judges and section stewards throughout the course of the two days. In the beef category this was awarded to Wigtownshire-based Frank Gwynne from Team Simmies, while the dairy winner was Devon-based Emily Davis from the Jersey Girls. Young sheep winner was Derbyshire-based Harvey Heath from the True Blues team, while in the pig section William Oliver, Cheshire, took top place.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on the Wednesday morning, event chairman Neil Lloyd told competitors and event visitors that with the help of the Three Counties Agricultural Society, the many sponsors and supporters involved and of course the competitors themselves, this event has firmly cemented itself as a national platform for celebrating youth in British Agriculture.

The National Young Stars team is indebted to all the help and support from the following companies The Allflex Group, Three Counties Agricultural Society, Royal Smithfield Club, Newark Livestock Market, AHDB, NSA, Dunbia, McCartneys, McInnes Show, Heineger, IAE, Con-Tented Products, Tulip, NSA Next Generation, Moule and Co and to the following people for supplying stock, straw and prizes for the auction; Andrew Bishop, Geoff Beamand, Edward and Sarah Layton, Matt Smith, Richard Bown, Paul and Kirsty Westaway, Bridget Borlase, Philip Halhead, Lin Pidsley and Mark Lawrence.

A massive thank you must also go to our chairman Neil Lloyd, Di Walton and Tess Warby at Three Counties for all their hard work and admin support, our vice chairman Chrissie Long, our Life President Clive Davies, event auctioneer and committee member Clive Roads and our amazing committee members and stewards; Steve and Doreen Gray, Ben Nottage, Rob Kirton, Tracey Bretherton, Sarah Layton, Keith Jempson, Jimmy McMillan, Chris Lloyd, Hayley Simpkin and Jack Walton.

Thank you also to the Hatfield team for putting up our shell scheme and show rings, Lin Pidlsey, Hugh Judd, Kitty Bodily, Sally Lloyd and Nicola Beardsley for the evening meal and of course all our judges; Richard Bartle, Cameron Jackson, Alistair Smith, Mark Knutsofrd, Iwan Thomas and Tom Lomas, Matthew Gray, Gethin Havard, Nick Kiddy, James Sage, Denis Elliot, John Holden, Rachel Gilder, Hannah Wood and Rory Gregor.

To view the full images from the event please go to https://gallery.countrygirlmedia.co.uk/nationalyoungstars2017/