Young Norfolk stockjudge to compete at breed’s world congress

Ruby Wright, 22, is stockman at Hall Farm, Wickmere.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Ruby Wright, 22, is stockman at Hall Farm, Wickmere.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A young North Norfolk pedigree breeder and stockjudge Ruby Wright has won one of four places to compete in New Zealand next month.

Ruby Wright, 22, is stockman at Hall Farm, Wickmere.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Ruby Wright, 22, is stockman at Hall Farm, Wickmere.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

She will swop her day job of looking after 330 beef cattle on Tony and Phillida Hurn's Hall Farm, Wickmere, to take part in the Aberdeen Angus World Forum.

The team, which includes three men from Scotland, will compete against the rest of the world in cattle presentation, handling and judging.

Ruby, who won her first young handlers' class aged 11 at the Aylsham Show while at Cromer High School, was greatly encouraged by her late grandfather, Harry Wright, of Felbrigg, who died in January this year. Her father and Duncan Jeary, who runs the Briston herd near Melton Constable, had helped hone her showing skills.

She was selected from the original 17 candidates after tasks, which included writing an essay, interviews and showing demonstrations.

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Ruby, 22, who leaves in early October, will spend about three weeks in New Zealand.

'I'll be taking part in a team stock judging competition which involves getting an animal ready for show. We will be given four heifers at the start of the week and prepare them for show,' she added.

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After school, she went to Easton College for two years and also worked in New Zealand with Angus breeders to gain further experience. 'I'm looking forward to going back but it is going be very hard work this time as we take on the world,' she added.

When she was about 15, she won the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society's youth award, and had to visit Scotland twice for interviews to be selected for the team award.

The final selection, which involved the last six, was particularly nerve-wracking, she said.

Since Christmas, she has been working full-time for Mr and Mrs Hurn and Jonathan Seaman, looking after their beef cattle including the Wickmere herd of Angus and the Twyford herd of British Simmentals. There are also commercial cross-bred cattle as well. But the Angus and Simmentals are really her favourites.

And when time permits, she also has her own Ruby herd of pedigree Aberdeen Angus, which was started about eight years ago as well as a small flock of commercial sheep.

The breed society's youth development co-ordinator, Gayle Bersey, said: 'We knew from the outset that we would have a hard task selecting the final four.'

In selecting the final four team members the key was to find exceptional individuals who could work successfully as team members too, she explains.

'Team work is critical in any walk of life and it will I'm sure be an essential component of the competition at the World Forum.

'All four of the final team possess a great range of skills themselves and work well together as a team too.'

The other team members are contract shearer John Brown, of Turriff; stockman Duncan Morrison, of Inverurie; plumber and pedigree breeder, Jamie Rettie, of Alloa.

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