Wingham Beef Week

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A fantastic programme of events, put together by the Wingham Beef Week Committee with the support of the event sponsors, local schools and beef producers of the Manning Valley, you are assured there is something for the whole family to enjoy. Chrissy Jones had a chat with the President of Wingham Beef Week, Paul Relf, and found out just what’s on during the event.

Wingham Beef Week (WBW) has a long proud history in the Manning Valley, with 2015 the 28th consecutive year of the event. What’s on, and where will the events be held?
The week-long event will be held again this year at Wingham Showgrounds on the 11th – 15th May. Over its 28 years, the event has grown and evolved to not only match the changing beef cattle dynamics within the Manning Valley, but also the beef cattle industry.
Originally, the event was largely aimed at the un-led carcase competition. However, due to the large involvement and interest of schools and local producers in led cattle, the led aspect of the competition has boomed. We are expecting 80 plus led entries, with 40 un-led entrants. As the number of younger competitors has increased significantly, the committee has recognised the importance of education and promotion of the beef cattle industry. This is the main reason why an education day was set up by the committee, as the younger generation is the future of the beef cattle industry.
A relatively new addition to the Beef Week programme is a Live Auction. This initiative is aimed at improving financial returns of those animals auctioned. The auction will consist of the first three ribbon winners of the first three led classes, as well as champion and reserve champion led and un-led steers. This provides local beef wholesalers/retailers, restaurants, as well as the general public the opportunity to purchase the best of the best prime quality beef.
Interested purchasers will bid for steers, which will be auctioned off by a local auctioneer, Steve Moy. The winning bidder of the animal will also receive the ribbon won by the animal to display in their shop window to promote their quality of product they are providing. After the last two previous years of the auction, interest has grown, as people are starting to realise the great opportunity to purchase MSA graded beef.
This year for the first time the Led Steers competition will be an MSA competition. All entries will be MSA registered, and eligible steers that meet the MSA minimum requirements will then be assessed under the MSA programme. This will mean an increased financial return to the producers, and a quality flow on product through to the consumers.
The week finishes off with the Beef Barons Ball, which is to be held at the Wingham Services Club, Saturday 16th May starting at 6:30pm. This provides the opportunity for patrons to attend a night were the ladies wear their best and men a suit and tie. The night includes a two course meal and nibbles on arrival. Entertainment will be by the local band The Solutions, with 50:50 music. Tickets are currently available at the Wingham Services Club; bookings are essential – no tickets will be sold at the door.

How does Beef Week encourage student involvement?
In 2013 we were approached by the Intercollegiate Meat Judging (ICMJ) Committee to be involved with our existing Beef Appraisal Competition. As well as conducting university level Meat Judging competitions on behalf of the MSA, they are also keen to promote this activity at a high school level to encourage students to  hopefully become involved in the Meat Science Industry and therefore undertake tertiary studies in this field.
As a result, the only two existing High School Beef Appraisal competitions, i.e. The  Scone Beef Bonanza and Wingham Beef Week, were amalgamated to allow the highest cumulative point scorer to be Crowned NSW Junior Meat Judging Champion. Last year’s inaugural winner was Jonty Hemmingway from Wingham High School. Jonty has since gone on to be accepted at UNE to study a dual Agricultural degree majoring in Meat Science. We are very fortunate to have the ICMJ conduct our competition in a university style competition.

Your major sponsor is Wingham Beef Exports. How long have they been involved?
We are again very appreciative of the ongoing support of our major sponsor Wingham Beef Exports, who have provided support for the last 27 years. Obviously this type of event would not occur without their involvement. The General Manager, Mr Grant Coleman, is a “believer” in the importance of educating our younger generation in the Meat Science Industry. As a result, we are able in conjunction with the ICMJ, to offer valuable learning experiences such as the Beef Appreciation Competition.

There are many competitions held during Wingham Beef Week; tell us more…
We have quite a few, including Beef Appreciation, General and Memorial Awards, Hoof and Hook, Junior and Open Judging, Junior and Open Parading, and the School Awards.
The Beef Appreciation competition is sponsored by the Bootoowaa Pastoral Company and is held at the Wingham Showground on Wednesday 13th May. In this competition for schools, competitors will assess steers and carcasses for their market suitability. The top four scores from each school will represent their school in the teams section. Team results are calculated from the scores of the top four scoring students from an individual school. This may span across age categories.
Prize money + ribbons will be presented at the presentation on Friday.
The Hoof and Hook competition for led cattle will be held at Wingham Showground on Thursday 14th May and for unled cattle only at Wingham Beef Exports on Friday 15th May.

What is The Belinda Hobbs Encouragement Award?
This competition is open to all schools, excluding Wingham High School.
In this competition, competitors will be interviewed by a panel about their knowledge of, commitment to and aspirations for their Agricultural future and about their involvement in Agriculture at their school and the contribution that they make to the subject.
Teachers are asked to nominate one student from their Ag Show Team, who is an “All Rounder” a “stand out team player” not only at shows, but throughout the whole year.
Teachers need to consider the following criteria when nominating a student for the award:
• Is a person who provides leadership at the school farm and in show team activities.
• Is a person who contributes in many ways to the day to day running of the farm/show team.
• Is a person who has pride in themselves and their school farm/show team.
• Is a person who shows a genuine interest in working as part of the show team or at the school farm.
• Is a person who is involved in a variety of activities at the school farm and show team.
An overall winner and runners up will be chosen, and each will receive a cash prize, trophy, T-shirt and cap.

There are other school awards; can you tell us about them?
The Adelle Rule Perpetual Trophy for the Champion School Carcass, which is awarded to the highest point scoring carcass from a school and the Jan Doherty Shield for the Best Maintained School.

Thanks Paul.


This article was from issue 101 of Manning-Great Lakes Focus

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