On what would have been the weekend of the annual Blacknose Beauties Show & Sale the Valais Blacknose Sheep Society took their event online for the first time in its history.
Keen to continue showcasing the breed and bring VBSSUK members together, the Society announced the online event with the aim to offer an experience to newcomers, bring back memories to those who would usually be enjoying the weekend celebration in Carlisle and encourage the future generations of breeders from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
The online Young Handler competition featured 3 classes, with each class winner put forward to compete for the overall Young Handler Champion title. Competitions were judged by VBSSUK committee members Andrew & Jemma Knowles-Brown of Crookedstane Valais Blacknose who are also yearly Blacknose Beauties class sponsors. The overall Young Handler Champion title was awarded to 6-year-old Beau Houston of the Houstons Valais Blacknose flock.
Following the success of last year’s fancy-dress competition, the Society also hosted 3 online classes. Classes were open to children, adults and family entries and judged by Hannah Jackson, the Red Shepherdess, recently seen on BBC Countryfile and SAS: Who Dares wins. The overall Fancy Dress Champions were brothers Alfie and Luca Jones from the Snowdonia Valais Blacknose flock with their ‘Avengers’ theme entry.
Commenting on the online competitions, Jenni McAllister, joint director of VBSSUK, said: “Set against the disappointment surrounding the cancellation of the event in Carlisle, we endeavoured to reproduce what we could online. Whilst not a substitute for the show, it was an opportunity to bring people together and demonstrate our resilience at this difficult time and have some fun. We received and overwhelming response from members and are grateful for their continued support. We look forward to welcoming everyone back under better circumstances next year”.
In addition to the online competitions the annual sale which forms part of the show was also hosted online via Harrison & Hetherington. The timed sale ran from Tuesday, 18th August – Friday, 21st August.
The Society’s online sale saw over 100 lots of Valais Blacknose sheep go under the hammer, with Scottish Breeders Raymond Irvine and Jenni McAllister’s ram lamb Highland Hero topping the sale at £6,550. Following at £6300 was Westmorland Hollie a ewe lamb belonging to Cumbrian breeder Tim Dunne. Cheshire breeder Eliott Ford sold Maverick Import VBN3291, an ewe with lamb at foot for £5650. Ewe lamb, Accraplatts Heather bred by Caroline Brown sold for £5,100 and Goldies Valais Blacknose sold their shearling ewe Denne Manor Penelope for £5000.
Speaking about the online Sale Jenni McAllister continues, “Hosting the online sale was a first in the history of the society, but it has been our largest Sale yet featuring over 100 lots. We were thrilled with the amount of entries which attracted both UK and global breeders, incredibly happy with the response from respective buyers and the overall sales results for all society members.”
Alongside the online event, the society also launched a fundraiser to raise money for The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) who provide an array of support to families and individuals in the agricultural industry. Semen pellets from fantastic rams belonging to the Highland, Westmorland and Whitehall flocks were sold at the end of the online sale with all proceeds donated to the charity, in addition to 25% of all online raffle tickets and 2019/2020 calendar sales proceeds.
Lot 119 Highland Hero £6550 purchased by J Knowles-Brown and H & E Duncan
Lot 40 Westmorland Hollie £6300 purchased by J Knowles-Brown
Lot 27 Maverick Import VBN3291 £5650 purchased by Cockerill (Farms) Ltd
Lot 48 Accraplatts Heather £5100 purchased by Mr Simon Slann
Lot 2 Denne Manor Penelope £5000 purchased by Ms Lisa Shaw