National Young Stars Impress at Royal Winter Fair, Canada

In April 2015 Steph Dick, Millie Hendy and Issy Hartley were celebrating their success at the inaugural National Young Stars competition held at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, under the name of the "Blue Bandit" British Blue team.

Off the back of their win, these three livestock enthusiasts won the fantastic chance to attend the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Canada, for the chance to compete on a Canadian national stage in the show ring with leading 4-H competitors.

Blue Bandit" British Blue team

The trip, which is organised as part of an exchange with “Team Canada” who competed in Malvern and came second to the UK team, Steph, Millie and Issy getting to know their show calves. All three got to prepare their calves, along with help from members of Wellington County 4-H, before competing in both showmanship and conformation classes. Quickly learning a rather different showing style and technique to what their more commonly used to, all three did the UK proud with Issy qualifying in her intermediate heat going through to the semi-finals and both Stephanie and Millie narrowly missing out on qualification in strong senior classes.

Blue Bandit" British Blue team

Showmanship judge Dave Vikse, Alberta, commented afterwards on three of the UK competitors saying: “It’s not easy changing a showing style you’ve been perfecting for many years and all three girls paraded their calves well. With a bit more experience it wouldn’t be long before they were up with the best of the best 4-H exhibitors.”

Blue Bandit" British Blue team

The second day of competition saw the girls take to the ring again, this time for conformation classes of which all three came a credible fourth in strong classes under leading commercial judge Emily Griffiths, Indiana.

Blue Bandit" British Blue team

Alongside ringside competitions, all three UK exhibitors got the chance to work alongside leading Canadian Hereford, Beef Shorthorn and Aberdeen-Angus breeders at the show with Angus

Blue Bandit" British Blue team

Breeder, Bill Jackson offering Steph, Millie and Issy the chance to return to Canada to work on the show circuit with him. “I was so impressed with the girl’s attitude and commitment to their calves throughout the show and I’d be honoured to have them work for me at a show or on the home farm. They’re a credit to the National Young Stars event.”

Commenting on the event, National Young Stars chairman Neil Lloyd said: “It was an honour to take Steph, Millie, Issy and Will out to Canada to show case their skills on such a wide platform. The exchange is a valuable experience for both the UK team and the Canadian team and with the help of 4-H co-ordinator Karen Mansfield we look forward to welcoming a new Canadian team to the UK to compete in Malvern at the end of March.”

The National Young Stars representatives would like to thank the Three Counties Agricultural Society and main line event sponsors for the opportunity to attend the Royal Winter Fair and the 4-H project for lending calves for the event. Also the Blue Bandits team would like to thank the British Blue Cattle Society for all their support in sponsoring the team for the National Young Stars event.