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livestock shows

Ready, set, show! – meet the judges

The three judges of The Orcadian’s online livestock competition, ‘Ready, Set Show!’ from the left, cattle judge William Gill, horse judge Meg Black and sheep judge Kenneth Sutherland.

In light of Orkney’s agricultural shows season being cancelled this year, The Orcadian has decided to have a bit of fun and will be running cattle, sheep and horse competitions, over the next two weeks.

Three judges have taken up the task of judging some of the the County Show’s recent champion cattle, sheep and horse exhibits in a set of knockout competitions, with prizes to be won. Their decisions will be posted on The Orcadian website and social media platforms each day and appear in the newspaper as they proceed.

William Gill, Meg Black and Kenneth Sutherland, have a real challenge on their hands as they compare classes of two animals at a time, making their decisions based on just one picture per animal.

The cattle and sheep competitions begin tomorrow, Saturday, with the judges’ final choices, and the results of a public vote, posted on our website on the following Saturday – the day this year’s County Show was due to be held.

On the Sunday after that, the horse competition will begin and will run until the following Saturday.

All pictures used in the competitions are from the year each animal was named champion of the County Show and for the purposes of our competition, we’ll be using all details from that time. While some of the champion animals have gone on to be sold after their triumph, we will be running the competition as if the owner during each animals County Show win had entered them into our competition.

As for the judges, William Gill, from Rosskeen farm, in Invergordon, will be judging the past eight cattle champions against each other until we’re left with his final champion.

Mr Gill is a stalwart of the Royal Highland Show, serving as it’s director for 13 years and chairman for two. After that he was honorary secretary, finishing up in July last year. He continues to farm at Rosskeen, which is now a mainly arable farm. He previously had Simmental cattle, with the prefix Milnafua.

Judging the sheep section will be Kenneth Sutherland, from Sibmister Farm in Thurso. Last year saw Sibmister play host to the National Sheep Association’s Highland event. Mr Sutherland runs a total of 1700 acres at Sibmister and Stainland farms with his brother, Stephen and father, Kenneth snr.

After all is said and done with the cattle and sheep, it will be the turn of the horses. Making the decisions will be Meg Black, from, Maine, USA, who visited Orkney during shows week last year, judging at the East Mainland and St Margaret’s Hope Shows.

She is highly qualified when it comes to everything to do with horses. She is a life-long horse rider, competitor and instructor based at Islewood farm, on Deer Island, where she runs a small riding school. Mrs Black has taught for around 35 years and has judged at her local shows for around the last 25 years.

Sixteen years ago she successfully applied to became a judge on the national level, gaining her equestrian federation judges licence, which takes several years and involves apprenticing, attending classes, acquiring references and some testing.

Our competitions will also see prizes of £100 in cash or vouchers given –  very kindly sponsored by NorthLink, Birsay Farmers Ltd and Casey Construction Ltd. These will go to the judges’ final champion as well as the champion chose, by you the public, via a public vote through out website.

Stay tuned to The Orcadian’s website for the launch of the cattle and sheep competitions tomorrow.

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