Repeat performance at National Velvet Competition

Dec 19, 2023

John Ramsey (FJ Ramsey Investments Ltd) claimed his second consecutive big win at the New Zealand National Velvet & Trophy Antler competition, scooping both the Open Red and Champion awards. The winning head from seven-year-old Br255 scored 17.41 points and cut 14.76kgs.

Ron Schroeder (centre) accepted the Champion Velvet award on behalf of FJ Ramsey Investments Ltd. He is pictured with Tony Cochrane (left)  PGG Wrightson, sponsor of the award, and Reserve Champion David Stevens of Netherdale.

The Reserve Champion – also the People’s Choice winner – was Netherdale’s three-year-old 20183 who scored 29.3 points and cut 9.54 kg.

The second placegetter in the Open Red section was Forest Road Farm’s seven-year-old Lazarus (35.4 points, 13.94 kg) and Brock Deer’s eight-year-old 15-691 (40.58 points, 11.22 kg).

The red judging team of John Fogarty and Tony Cochrane said the consistency and condensed weight range of the entries made their job difficult. They had approached the judging task from a buyer perspective, keeping front of mind the different aspects that buyers from China and South Korea look for.

Cochrane said the condensed weight range was a reflection of how genetics have advanced over time.

“In the four-year and five-year sections there was  a lot of even style, tidy, clean heads so the judging aspect was really important,” he said.

He noted that this season there had been a swing to the China market where buyers were looking for even and balanced round tops. Velvet growers had answered that call harvesting velvet in a timely manner to achieve rounder and shorter velvet and maximum second cut regrowth.

Entries of red heads were on par with last year but down for elk and wapiti due to the slightly later growing season and scheduling of the national competition a week earlier than last year.

“One week makes a big difference but what we had was good quality,” Colin Smith said, who judged the elk and wapiti entries with DINZ markets manager Rhys Griffiths.

The Elk Supreme award went to Clachanburn’s seven-year-old Tombstone whose 21.34 kg head scored 34.09 points. Second place was six-year-old Eureka from Mayfield Elk (39.81 points, 24.28 kg) and third Green Tag from J&R Batley (71.45 points, 17.74 kg).

The National Velvet & Trophy Antler competition was the first such event attended by DINZ assistant markets manager Virgina Connell (right) pictured with DINZ industry capability manager Sara Elmes.  It was “impressive and informative,” Connell said. Velvet growers were happy to share their knowledge.

In the Trophy Antler section Whyte Farming featured prominently, claiming the Wapiti (typical) category with Detroit (512 7/8 points, 17.58 kg), and Tui (498 1/8 points, 19.92 kg) second. They were the only entrant in the Wapiti (non-typical) but Chicago’s 605 3/8 point, 22.16 kg head was an outstanding exhibit. Odd Fellow was the winner of the Fallow Trophy Antler category and was also the Trophy Antler champion, taking home the Sir Tim Wallis Memorial trophy, a new award sponsored by the Wallis family.

The Winston Day Memorial award is another trophy recognising an industry pioneer. The winner was chosen by Day family members who made the selection according to what Winston would have deemed a prize-winning head. This year, Raincliff Deer’s four-year-old 19-730 won the award.

The event concluded with an auction comprising stag semen straws, accommodation, assorted gifts and even a voucher for the professional services of marriage celebrant Jane Campbell (also secretary of the competition.

Collectively, almost $23,000 was raised, of which 20 percent was donated to the Southern Charity Hospital.

DFA velvet competitions have been held in Hawke’s Bay, South Canterbury & North Otago, as well as a North Island event. Still to come is the XCell Rising Stars (March 9, Te Awamutu) and the Elk & Wapiti Society NZ (Feb 3, Cromwell) competitions.

Here’s the full lineup of National Velvet & Trophy Antler competition winners and placegetters >>

Read a recap of this year’s velvet competitions here >>


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