Last-minute substitutions in one of the Yorkshire stockjudging teams resulted in the County Federation winning the overall team trophy at NFYFC’s Live and Carcase Stockjudging national final, sponsored by Kerbl/Rutland Electric Fencing.
Brothers Reuben, 16, and Ethan, 14, from Calderdale YFC stepped in at the last minute to judge the lamb live and carcase section of the competition for the Yorkshire D team. Both had competed at the English Winter Fair before and jumped at the chance to take part again, not expecting to help the County win the much-coveted John Spear trophy for the first time since 1961.
Reuben, who lives on his family’s beef and sheep farm, said:
“I never went in it expecting to win. We didn’t even qualify to be in the D team but so many people dropped out that we got a call and ended up going.
“There wasn’t any pressure on us to win with us being the D team! We went in to have a good time. It’s a nice weekend away. So, winning was the icing on the cake. It was a bit of a shock.”
In preparation for the competition, their club practised by visiting an abattoir, run by a former member, which the boys believe helped. Taking part in Public Speaking competitions has also given both more confidence in reason giving.
“Being able to talk in front of someone and getting the confidence to talk to someone is a difficult thing. Public Speaking competitions absolutely helped with that,” he added.
While Reuben was surprised at his own success, he had high hopes for his younger brother Ethan who was competing against members up to twice his age.
Ethan said: “A judge came over to me while we were out doing some Christmas shopping and told me ‘well done’. I thought I might have done ok after he said that, but I didn’t think I’d won.
“I was very surprised when they called out my name. At first, I didn’t think they meant me, I thought there was someone else called Ethan.”
Ethan has taken part in Stockjudging competitions with his club and county and admits that stockjudging is a ‘big part’ of his YFC experience.
The brothers came second in the team Lamb Live and Carcase section and points were boosted by members from the team who took part in the beef live and carcase – Katie Grainger and Grace Bryant.
Herefordshire A were second overall and Cumbria C placed third, with a range of other trophies and awards given to teams and individuals in each of the classes.
During this year’s competition there was also a surprise visit from Farming Minister Mark Spencer who was in the carcase hall when members were judging the beef and lamb carcases.
The competition is the first national final of the 2023-24 membership year and winners received prize money from sponsors Kerbl/ Rutland Electric Fencing.
The competition is also supported by the Staffordshire & Birmingham Agricultural Society as they allow NFYFC to host the competition at the venue and the YFC Supper on Saturday evening is supported by Bagshaws.
NFYFC is grateful to all the beef exhibitors for allowing the Federation to use their stock in the competition and to Madders & Johnson for providing the lambs and John Bradshaw for supplying the carcases.