by | Aug 22, 2023

• Eleven-year-old cow wins the Supreme Championship
• Kilbride Farm Jetstream is Overall Reserve
• 2023 competition sees 431 entries over six classes

After some six weeks of online judging through July and August, and with 431 animals entered from 81 pedigree breeders all over the United Kingdom, the 2023 Simmental Virtual Show Championship has been won by the eleven-year-old cow Vale Royal Annie from James Arnold, Tarporley, Cheshire. Mr Arnold has now won this fledgling but high-profile competition, the UK’s largest online pedigree show, twice in its four-year history having won the inaugural event with Vale Royal Heavenly Girlie in 2020.

The Simmental Virtual Show was started as a ‘bit of fun’ during Covid lockdown but its popularity has seen it grow into one of the most anticipated and highlight Simmental show events of the year. This year’s event has seen 431 animals entered over the six classes, up by 145 on last year.

Vale Royal Annie initially prevailed from a tremendous class of 92 Cows-in-milk, judged by Bridget Olds of the Bosahan herd, Falmouth, Cornwall, before securing the Female Championship from the section judge John Barlow of the Denizes herd, Nr Leyland, Lancs. In the Supreme Championship, judged by David Lowry of the noted Keeldrum Herd, Newsteadings Farm, Lanark, she went head-to-head with the Male Champion Kilbride Farm Jetstream 18 (P) from WH Robson & Sons, Doagh, Ballyclare, before duly being announced as the winner.

Commenting, David Lowry said: Vale Royal Annie is just a tremendous example of the Simmental breed. She’s eleven-years-old and in the picture she just retains such a freshness, and is full of breed character and femininity. Annie has an excellent top line on her, lovely balanced body, a tremendous udder for her age and looks to be standing on a good set of legs. With nine calves to her name she’s also a terrific example of the longevity that is typical of Simmental females and I think she’s a very worthy Supreme Champion.”

2018 born, the Male Champion and Reserve Overall, Kilbride Farm Jetstream is by the homozygous polled bull Sneumgaard Imperator (PP), and is out of Kilbride Farm Dora 70F from one of the herd’s noted cow families. Kilbride Farm Jetstream won the fifth class of this year’s show and which comprised of a hugh quality entry of 26 Senior Simmental Bulls judged by Alan Wilson of the Bannhill herd, Dorans Hill, Newry. Moving into the Championships, Kilbride Farm Jetstream 18 (P) was awarded the Male Championship by the section judge Stewart Stronach of the Islavale herd, Berryleys Farm, Keith.

Of the Overall Reserve, David Lowry said: “Again, this is a terrific Simmental bull. He’s just about five-years-old and is extremely smart. He shows plenty of breed character with a good head, has lovely fleshing with excellent muscling, and appears to be standing on a good set of legs. Correct and square over the plates this is a very modern type Simmental bull and who has come through some very strong classes.”

For a delighted James Arnold, the Supreme Championship win was also a poignant one as Annie’s mum Curaheen Annie was bought as an 8-month-old heifer on his last trip away with his father (Hugo Arnold of the noted Hockenhull herd). After the Championship news was announced, James Arnold said: “It feels amazing to have won this competition and for a second time. The Simmental Virtual Show is great fun but the standard of entries this year has been really top drawer. I’d like to congratulate all of the exhibitors who’ve put on a fantastic promotion of the quality and potential in the Simmental breed.”

Continuing he said, “Vale Royal Annie is an incredible cow. She’s bred to every bull she’s been put to and has produced nine calves. All bar one of her five bull calves have gone to pedigree breeders and with arguably the best of the lot going to a commercial producer. We sell them young due to our set up and in one instance she bred a £10,000 bull sold to the Crowgey herd at 11-month-sold. Her latest bull calf Vale Royal North Star was sold to the Bailey family’s noted Mixbury Hall herd in Northamptonshire this year.

“Annie has been amazing for us. She’s so low maintenance, gets in calf easily and first time, is so sound and just very feminine. I think this year at eleven-years-old she’s looking as well as she ever has done, and she’s back in calf to Curaheen Wakeman. There’s been many offers to buy her over the years but Annie’s part of the furniture and definitely not for sale!”

In the four years of the event the Simmental Virtual Show has seen in excess of an incredible 2200 pedigree Simmentals entered. With the return of live summer showing the number of Virtual Show classes has been refined but the interest in the event continues to grow. Commenting the British Simmental Cattle Society’s General Manager Iain Kerr said: “A massive well done to the Championship winners and to all of the Simmental breeders who have entered this year and put on another fantastic Simmental show case. We can see that live showing is becoming more challenging and recognise the forward potential in this event. As such we’ll keep providing the platform for breeders large and small, in all geographies, to take part easily and showcase their Simmental stock. The social media numbers watching the show are remarkable and the audience extends well beyond the UK to cattle lovers from all round the globe which is great to see.”

To see the class winners and all of the entries in this year’s 2023 Simmental Virtual Show then please visit the Society’s Facebook page, and also go to www.britishsimmental.co.uk.