Multi-breed exhibitors share Cup win

Danella BevisCountryman

It was a family affair at the presentation of this year's Governor's Cup when a thrilled Squiers family, of Shirlee Downs stud, and the Kitchens and Wetherells, of Bandeeka stud, were announced joint winners on the final day of the Royal Show.

For the family-owned and run Elgin-based Bandeeka stud, it was the fifth victory in 15 years, while it was Shirlee Downs' second win since it took top honours home to Quairading in 2009.

In the past six years, the prestigious award has tied three times, most recently in 2008, and is awarded to the exhibitor who amasses the most points across the sheep, cattle, horse, goat and alpaca exhibits.

It was a fitting victory for Bandeeka's Tony and Loreen Kitchen, who run the Simmental and Red Angus stud with their daughter Sarsha and son-in-law Kane Wetherell, because Simmentals were this year's feature breed and 2012 marked the 40th year since the first Simmental calf was born in Australia. The Kitchens have been showing cattle at the Show since 1987 and this year exhibited 21 head as well as five calves.

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Their 12-month-old Simmental steer, Bandeeka Fudge, won champion heavy weight and grand champion in the led class and claimed the top price of $4200 in the trade cattle auction, while also taking out senior champion interbreed bull with Bandeeka Fancypants.

Loreen said being able to interact with people in the cattle lanes was wonderful and went a long way towards ensuring the agricultural side of the show endured. "It is all about showing metropolitan people what really happens, like where milk really comes from," she said.

Shirlee Downs stud co-principal Chris Squiers, who runs the stud with sons Adrian and Sascha, said the family had been showing their Poll Dorsets, and later Samms, since the late 1980s.

"It's not on our radar (to win the Cup), it's a bonus really because everybody else has got their best sheep down there so it's being lucky enough for the judge to pick yours as the best," he said. "It's been 50 years this year since my father bought sheep for us, so that was pretty special."

The Squiers exhibited 41 Poll Dorsets and Samms this year. They also had 24 lambs in the lamb carcase competition but these did not count towards the Governor's Cup. Not only were they top of the class in the interbreed group of three rams, Shirlee Downs took home all of the broad sashes and won every class except one in the Prime Samm judging.

They gained the most aggregate points in the Poll Dorset judging.

The show played host to more than 15,000 entries across 40 competitions, the standard of which Royal Agricultural Society president Hugh Harding said continued to impress year after year and reflected the innovation and quality of WA agriculture, food and arts.

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