The big crowd erupted in cheers when the steward announced their Pine Creek Angus stud cow as the supreme of the more than 500 beef cattle exhibits.
The four year-old cow PC Miss E99 Foreman J181 with her second calf, a bull PC Complement, at-foot, has already won the best exhibit of the Angus judging at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and grand champion Angus female at the Royal Adelaide Show.
The Cowra NSW based family, including Greg and Sharon Fuller and their daughter Christie and her husband Andrew Kennedy, not only had the supreme winning cow, but also the junior champion bull, a Red Angus shown under the Kennedys’ Black Diamond stud prefix, on the mat vying for the top title.
They also had reserve heifer and reserve junior bull, and Black Diamond’s group of three Red Angus topped the inaugural interbreed breeders’ group earlier in the day. There were 14 groups, and the Pine Creek Angus group came in second, only two points behind. And all these accolades were achieved with a show team of only five Pine Creek Angus cattle (and a calf) and three Black Diamond Red Angus cattle.
Speaking on behalf of the three judges and the over-judge, David Bondfield, Palgrove stud, Dalveen, Queensland, said the supreme Angus cow-calf pair was “absolutely outstanding”.
“(It’s) really hard to get that sort of performance, substance and power in an animal that is so structurally sound and perfectly designed,” Mr Bondfield said.
“Also the bull calf, the next generation, is beautifully presented and an absolute credit to the breeders and the stud to bring forward an animal of that calibre and winning this sort of competition is no easy feat.”
He said the judging team had placed the top four animals and in varying orders, such was the evenness of the competition.
Mrs Kennedy said her family and their team were thrilled and overwhelmed by the supreme win.
She said for the cow to top the Angus breed at Sydney, Adelaide and now Melbourne’s Royal Shows made her the only cow to do so in the one year.
“Last time we did it, it was with a bull in 2006. So she's the only Angus cow to ever do that,” Mrs Kennedy said.
Her winning ways started early – as a heifer at Sydney in 2015, Miss E99 Foreman was the interbreed champion. Mrs Kennedy said the cow not only excelled in the show ring but also in the beef operation.
“In the beef industry, we want a cow that is mobile, a big cow (because we get paid cents per kilo) and just a real broody female that's still got that power without being extreme. She's just beautiful.”
The family are no strangers to interbreed success at Melbourne, for example they most took out supreme beef interbreed champion in 2014 and 2015.
“Just a lot of blood, sweat and tears; Dad's been doing it for 40 years and I've been doing it for my whole life,” Mrs Kennedy said.
The family were able to enter the bull Black Diamond Red Madador M502 (AI)(ET) into the interbreed competition thanks to a wildcard system introduced to Melbourne’s beef cattle judging for the first time this year. Under the new system, exhibitors can pay $500 within an hour after the breed’s judging is complete, to enter an animal that did not win a breed champion ribbon into the interbreed competition. All of the money goes into the prize pool.
The bull was reserve junior champion Red Angus bull in the breed judging, behind its full ET brother. The results were flipped in the interbreed junior champion bull, when Madador M502 won and Black Diamond Marlboro Red M500 (AI)(ET) was reserve.
Mrs Kennedy said the interbreed-winning bull had won at Brisbane and Adelaide, so they decided to enter him as a wildcard.
“And that's the one that come through with the goods today,” she said.
“That's the power of the wild card!”
She said she thought the system made the interbreed competition more interesting, although she thought it should possibly be capped at reserves.
Other interbreed winners included RDM Angus’s RDMG Red Solo Cup L6, that won senior champion bull. It is the biggest prize Rachael, Daniel and Michele Wheeler’s RDM Angus stud, Wellington NSW, has won Melbourne, although it is only the second year they’ve exhibited. Their December 2015-drop bull weighed 976 kilograms and scanned 120 square centimetres eye muscle area, 13 millimetres on both the rump and the rib fat.
The family sold him at the Royal Adelaide Show, where he was the supreme Red Angus exhibit and came second in the all breeds bull class.
The small stud, with only 24 breeding females, also won reserve senior champion female (after a tie break for the winner) with a full sibling to the senior champion bull.
“The bull is so thick, and structurally sound,” Rachael Wheeler said.
In a unanimous decision, the three judges placed the April 2016 drop Angus heifer, Hollywood Miz Scarlett M18, first in the interbreed heifer class, which saw her win the championship.
While the heifer was bred by and entered under IC&LE Frecklington, Hollywood Angus, Peak Hill NSW, it was led by Sam Parish, Mass Angus, Dubbo, NSW, who purchased the heifer just before the show.
Sam works for Hollywood Angus and the heifer is the first the 16 year-old Sam has owned.
The heifer’s structure, depth, thickness and muscling caught his eye.
“It’s just her overall package,” he said.
Sam plans to artificially inseminate her with genetics from a carefully selected bull, probably from overseas, to make sure she has her first calf safely.
Miz Scarlett will remain with the Hollywood Angus herd, and Sam hopes she'll go to the Angus feature in Sydney in 2019.
This year’s feature breed at Melbourne, Speckle Park, was competitive in the interbreed competition too. Signifying the breed’s enormous advancement in the 10 years it’s been in Australia, Six Star Premier, exhibited by Six Star Speckle Park stud, Glenquarry, NSW, was reserve senior champion bull, and Speckle Park entries were in the top four for three other interbreed classes.