Christmas Classic announces judges and opens for entries


Following the announcement of new event sponsor NorthLink Ferries, Aberdeen & Northern Marts is delighted to announce that judges have been selected and entries are officially open for this year’s premier two-day winter livestock show ‘The Aberdeen Christmas Classic’.
The traditional Christmas show – celebrating its 24th year – is well-established in the agricultural calendar as one of the UK’s most prestigious annual shows and sales of prime cattle and sheep; pedigree female sheep; pedigree beef bulls; and the ‘Rising Stars Exhibition Calf Show’ with £16,000 of prize money and a range of trophies up for grabs.
The event is well-known for attracting prime stock entries including many top prize winners from Scotland’s summer show season.  An estimated 80 prime cattle and 200 prime sheep from many of the country’s leading livestock producers will be on show on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 November at the free admission event at Thainstone Centre, Inverurie – attracting interest from buyers all across the UK. 
In addition to the packed agenda of shows and sales, the two-day event is also very popular with the young farmers encouraging the next generation – up to the age of 29 – to participate in dedicated sections for the prime cattle and sheep competitions and also the opportunity to shine through young farmers’ stock judging competitions and the Rising Stars calf show.
Last year’s Christmas Classic was a huge success with an array of quality livestock on show. The haltered beef cattle overall champion title went to Wilson Peters, Cuilt Farmhouse, Monzie, Crieff, and sold for £3,000. The top price was achieved by Blair Duffton & Rebecca Stuart, 2 Bogie Street, Huntly, and their Limousin cross heifer ‘Saucy Flossy’ which won the Butchers’ Championship and sold for £3,500.
In the quality prime lambs section, the Beltex breed dominated the show, with Mr Callum Angus, West Mey, Thurso, getting a triple championship by winning the open champion pens of lambs, and best presented pen of lambs titles, including a special prize for the best pen of lambs for his Beltex sired lambs.  These sold for the top price of £280 per head.
The Rising Stars calf show, launched at the 2014 Christmas Classic, is returning for its third year giving farmers the chance to exhibit the best of their young cattle (born after 1 March 2015 and halter-led) as a taster for the show season ahead in the coming year. Last year, British Blue cross heifer ‘Pic N Mix’ from Jack Hendry, Heads of Auchinderran, Aultmore, Keith, claimed the overall champion title.
Alan Hutcheon, Auction Operations Manager of Aberdeen and Northern Marts, said: “We are proud to host one of Scotland’s best agricultural events of the year here at Thainstone Centre and encourage farmers to submit entries early for what promises to be another fantastic Christmas Classic event – attracting buyers and butchers from all over the UK looking to purchase top-quality livestock from exhibitors.”
Leading the judging team for this year’s event is Hugh Black, H Black & Sons Butchers, Lanark and Louise Forsyth, W T S Forsyth & Sons Butchers, Peebles for the haltered beef cattle and Gary Raeburn, Forbes Raeburn & Sons Butchers, Huntly will cover the young farmers prime cattle and sheep, while Graham Sim, Procurement Manager at ABP Food Group, Perth will judge the unhaltered cattle section.  Judging the prime sheep this year is John Woodburn, 28 Hass Grove, Lockerbie.
Entries for the pedigree stock close at 5pm on Monday 24 October while the closing date for prime stock entries and the Calf Show close at noon on Monday 14 November.