Shows are back and so too is the interest among young people. Virginia showgrounds was buzzing last weekend for a “Young handlers workshop” which was organised by the Irish Farmers Journal, the Virginia Show Society, the Irish Shows Association and a number of breed societies.
Virginia show chair Owen Brodie said: “We were conscious that young people haven’t really had a chance over the last two to three years of learning the basics about showing cattle and sheep. We know that there is huge interest in the area and we came together to see what we could do.”
Over 80 kids and teenagers turned up at the event and everybody took something home out of it.
The event was split up into Allen Shortt and Mark Reid giving a masterclass in clipping and animal care including where to start and how much to take off along certain parts of the animal.
Bartley Finnegan outlined some of the hair products he uses and how to get the best out of them before show day and on the day of the show.
Shane Murphy and Niall Lynch from the Irish Aberdeen Angus Society outlined some tips on taking “stock shots” of animals, including camera angles and feet positioning.
Catherine Smith, Eleanor Reilly and John Smith took participants through the art of ring craft and how to present both themselves and their animals to the best of their ability.
One of the highlights was changing a flat tyre on a livestock trailer. Jim Dockery from Farm Relief Services had everybody glued to the action as he demonstrated and got some of the children to take off wheels and put them back on.
Dockery said: “Sometimes it’s the simple things that catch you out on show day and it’s a skill that probably everybody will need some day. We had great fun with everybody asking lots of questions.”
Finally, Ian Donald took participants through the clipping process when preparing a sheep for a show or sale.
Local Limousin breeder William Smith said: “It’s great to see so many young people so interested in showing cattle and sheep. Shows are an important part of rural Ireland and it’s important that we foster an interest in the next generation to keep shows alive.”