Graham Foster will look back on Balmoral Show 2019 for years to come as possibly one of the best agricultural events he will ever have participated in.
When he loaded up his Charollais sheep to take them from his farm in Newtownstewart to travel to Balmoral Park, Lisburn he simply could not have anticipated the success that would unfold during the next few days.
His week kicked off by winning the Charollais breed Championship with a homebred gimmer from his Springhill flock. Not to be outdone her full ET sister was awarded the reserve championship. These outstanding females are sired by Robleston Superman and out of a homebred ewe that goes back to a Tullyear ram. Their baby sister also stood top of the line in the ewe lamb class.
The Foster Champion aptly named “Springhill Tina Turner”, as she is simply the best, then romped to victory lifting the coveted sheep interbreed Championship. This in itself is an award that many breeders try their whole life to win.
Newly married Graham (29) and his wife Hannah were then invited to take part in the Champion of Champions which takes place in the main arena at Balmoral and sees all of the section winners go head to head for £1,000 cash award. Judge for this hugely popular competition was Pete Snodden from Cool FM who was assisted by his daughter Ivanna (8). They interviewed the owners of the best dairy and beef cattle, as well as the winners from the poultry, rabbit, pig and goat sections before Pete tapped out Graham’s Charollais gimmer as Champion of Champions. There was a huge cheer from the packed ringside as “Tina Turner” proved to be a popular winner with the crowd.
So what next for young Graham Foster? He will be busy for the next few weeks shearing sheep, and then it’s all systems go as the ram sale season kicks off.
Graham runs around 15 Charollais ewes, which are farmed alongside Springhill Texels and a busy dairy herd and Angus calf rearing unit.
The Foster farm is very much a family affair with dad and mum John and Helga both very involved as well as younger brother Robbie and sister Alice.