Ewbank first-time title win at Craven Champions highlight
Fawcett heifer lands £2,100 top price
Nidderdale husband and wife, Mark and Fee Ewbank, were awarded the supreme championship at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Craven Champions highlight for 2019-born store cattle with show potential. (Tues, Feb 18)
The couple, who farm at Intake Farm, Middlesmoor, lifted the title for the first time with their March-born British Blue-cross heifer, which first won its strong show class before progressing to take the female championship, then supreme honours.
The first-time shown victor, known at home as Dance Monkey - a name adopted after a Christmas song aired on a regular basis by their six-year-old daughter Jessica! - is by their well-utilised stock bull, Brennand Jimmy, acquired some five years ago from breeders, the Walker family, of Dunsop Bridge, who have themselves won multiple Craven Champions titles.
Out of a Limousin-cross cow, the title winner, recipient of the Jack Walker Trophy presented since 2014 by Geoff Walker in memory of his late father, sold for joint second top call of £1,900 to regular Derbyshire buyer, Michael Wynne, of Hall Farm, Matlock, who this year co-judged the show with his daughter Ellie, about to turn 18, who is in her final year studying agriculture at Newton Rigg College in Penrith.
The Ewbanks also picked up third prize in one of the un-haltered show classes with a May-born Blue-cross bullock known as Tequilla, also by Jimmy, who is himself a son of Bringlee Waldo, out of Brennand Asti. The selling price was £1,050.
The couple, who also have two sons, nine-year-old, Mark Jnr, and Callum, aged seven, run 25 commercial beef cattle and a flock of 450 pedigree Swaledale ewes. They are currently establishing their own Intake British Blue pedigree herd.
The Fawcett family at Fold Farm, Drebley – Stephen and Tracy, and their daughter Samantha – achieved the day’s top call of £2,100 with a nine-month-old home-bred British Blue-cross heifer by their solid and well-utilised stock bull, Newclose Harry.
The buyer was up-and-coming Ripon young farmer Liam Rodney, who plans to parade his new acquisition on this year’s summer show circuit. “We are over the moon. A lot of people came to look at the heifer. We always thought she was a bit special,” said Samantha.
The Fawcetts also stood runners-up in the Blue-sired bullock show class with another by Harry, bred in Staffordshire by Andrew Wilson. The bull is now eight and has been used successfully for the past six years. His May-born son sold for £1,300.
Standing reserve supreme champion was North Craven show regular Sheila Mason’s Keasden Head herd with the first prize-winning haltered Blue-cross bullock, also champion steer. The six-month-old is by the home-bred Keasden Head Laddie, a young bull now in his second year.
The overall reserve became a second acquisition by the judge at £1,600, who also went to £1,650 to claim Mrs Mason’s first prize winner in the young handlers’ show class, also reserve female champion, a six-month-old Limousin-cross heifer known as Jewel and shown by her daughter Georgia Thornton.
As with previous Craven Champions’ top-notch buys this year’s acquisitions will again take their place on the show circuit in the hands of Ellie Wynne. One of last year’s prize-winning acquisitions, again from Sheila Mason, went on to claim the supreme championship at Bakewell’s Christmas primestock show, later selling for top price of 500p/kg, or £2,990.
Mrs Mason, who was the 2017 Craven Champions supreme champion and last year claimed top price of £3,000 with another red ticket-winning Blue-cross heifer, also picked up a third prize this year in the haltered Blue heifer class with a June-born daughter of Laddie known as Panda. She sold for £1,250.
The Walker family - father Geoff and his two sons John and Rob, who farm high above the Hodder Valley at Brennand Farm, Dunsop Bridge, was itself among the prizes, including a red rosette success in the haltered Limousin heifer show class with a June-born daughter of their home-bred bull Brennand Maverick. She sold for £1,400 to David Bamforth, from Halifax.
The Walkers, who have won an unprecedented seven Craven Champions titles in recent years, also finished runners-up in three further show classes, first with their March-born Blue-cross in the un-haltered any breed bullock class, a son of Brennand Kracker, then in the haltered Blue heifer show class with a March-born daughter of their renowned former stock bull, Cromwell Fendt. The duo sold at £1,020 and £1,600 respectively, the later again to Mr Bamforth.
Their third runners-up success came in the young handlers show class with a May-born Blue-cross heifer knocked down for £1,700 and a third buy for Mr Bamforth. To cap a good day, the Walkers also picked up a third prize with an April, 2019 haltered Blue-sired bullock sold for £1,300.
All prize winners sold made four-figure prices. Still in the haltered show classes, any another breed first prize winner was a December, 2018, Simmental-cross heifer from J Bartram & Son, of Askham Richard, York, which made £1,100, bettered at £1,400 by the runner-up, a Blonde-cross from DP Moore, of Sowerby Bridge.
Ian Townson, of Settle, won the Charolais heifer show class with a May-born daughter of the AI sire, Cross Molina Euro, sold for £1,400. Three other prize winners from the same home made £1,350, £1,100 and £1,040.
The two un-haltered show classes for any breed bullocks and heifers saw the latter fall to North Craven mother and son, Janet and James Huck, of Austwick, with a June-born Limousin-cross by the Genus AI sire, Lodge Hamlet, which became the second £1,900 joint top price performer when joining ME&CA Duerden in Dalton-in-Furness.
The Hucks also hit £1,800 with a third prize winner in the haltered Limousin-sired heifer show class, their March-born entry claimed by Richard Critchley, of Hutton, Preston. They also had the third prize Limousin-sired bullock, which made £1,150.
Winners of the un-haltered bullock show class were D&JF Leeming, of Ramsgill, with a December-born Blue-cross sold for £1,000.
Skipton’s first major store cattle showcase of 2020 again created very strong interest from the ringside, once more attracting multiple sponsors. Full results and prices are at www.ccmauctions.com