Thos weekend's annual Lismore show, the North Coast National, re-iterated its claim as the premier district exhibit and turned on a display of led and stud beef cattle that rivalled regular Royals.
Organisers were pleased to report 250 stud cattle entrants - twice as many as that of Royal Adelaide and vastly more than Melbourne - along with 76 led steers and 60 heifers.
Indeed the lawns were full but they held up well. While much of the North Coast is severely moisture depleted, a chance thunderstorm that dumped 70-100mm over Lismore a few weeks earlier refreshed the landscape considerably.
The burnt-orange of blooming Silky Oaks and such green grass was wonderfully highlighted by a brand-new white picket fence which made the affair "very classy" according to long-time show historian and author Helen Trustum.
Interbreed grand champion, as judged by three judges - Mitchell Redding in the Bos indicus, Ben Toll; in the Europeans and Kirrily Iseppi for the British bred, decided upon the Queensland Brahman heifer Mountain Springs Carina, 20 months, by Rockley Magna from Rockstar Lady Platinum Elmo 6 exhibited by EE and JM Mollenhagen and Sons, Mountain Springs Brahmans at Monto with show preparation by TLC Fitting Service at Lockyer Waters.
One of the first daughters by Magna, purchased at Rockhampton Brahman Week, she placed third in a strong class at this year's Brisbane Royal.
North Coast National champion of champions was awarded to the Bennett family, Little Valley at Stratheden. The stud cattle that decided that nomination included their champion Braford female, the 37 month old Little Valley Natasha parading with her seven-month old heifer calf, along with their breed-champion male, the junior bull Riverton 488, nine months, bought earlier this year with his mother at the Gracemere, Qld dispersal sale after Rockhampton breeders Larry and Beth Acton announced retirement.
Supreme bull went to Yulgilbar Sidney S28, by Hardigreen Park Vice Ray, supreme champion at this year's Casino Beef Week and reserve winner at the Grafton Show.
Grand champion junior bull went to the Charolais Shandon Tornado, 738 kilograms at 16 months, bred by Scott Beaumont at Dorrigo. His sire, Orara Waterfall Glenlea North won junior interbreed champion previously at Lismore.
Mr Beaumont's daughter Elle showed Tornado's mother at this event to win a previous heifer show.
Meanwhile, Elle went on to show her skills are on the improve at this year's beef paraders competition by winning the 15 to 17 years' division from a remarkable 60 entrants.
The parading classes were all well attended and the keen-ness of individuals in trying their best impressed judge Kirrily Iseppi, who commented that Lismore North Coast National punched above its weight - "on par with the Ekka".
"I was happy with the quality of steers," she said. "And the kids really want to be here."
Grand champion beef parader was Amber McLucas, Ipswich, Qld while Olivia O'Reilly, Ironpot Pastoral via Kyogle and lately of Kangaroo Creek, placed in reserve.
Woodenbong Central School took home the blue ribbon with a Limousin bred by Lindesay View at Long Creek.
Casino High School placed in reserve with a Limousin/Angus.
Winner of the heifer show, among 60 entrants, was Tullayre Tricked Up, bred by Tullayre Simmentals, Scone, prepared by Pinedock Fitting and led by James Dockrill, Tomki.
Reserve winner was Glenlea Estella 41st, exhibited by Glenlea Beef, Dorrigo.
The show kicked off competition last Thursday with a much touted steer classic, comprising 76 entries all showing such fine fat cover as to defy the season.
In the finish it was a stylish and elegant Limousin that caught the eye of Dubbo-based judge Ben Toll, bred by Josh and Kirsty Sawtell, Lindesay View Limousins at Long Creek, and expertly prepared for show by repeat led steer champion Murray Nicholls, Tookawhile at Rukenvale. The partnership has worked well in the past at the Ekka and at Casino Beef Week.
Judge Mr Toll described the winning steer as an "excellent example of a well balanced modern exhibition animal which displayed optimum fat coverage".
"He is a high yielding athletic steer who is structurally impeccable and carries himself particularly well as he moves around the show ring," he said.
Reserve champion led steer prepared and exhibited by the Dean family, Clifton Pines at Mallanganee, was also bred by Lindesay View Limousins.
Stud principal Josh Sawtell said phenotype and structure were key to his breeding program, which includes 100 stud registered cows from a herd of 230.
"They've got to look good," he said. "And temperament is massive for us."
Carcase champion and reserve went to two Murray Grey steers 444kg and 468kg, exhibited by John Willcocks and L Cox, Tenterfield, on 91.09 and 90.96 points respectively.
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