A KEY part of this year’s Texel Sheep Society 50th anniversary celebrations will be the Textravaganza National Texel Show at Borderway Mart, Carlisle this summer.

Preceded by the society’s Club Champions Day and the Summer Sizzler barbecue, this will be only the second staging of a Texel national show in the society’s history, with the first having taken place in 2021.

Featuring ten classes, as well as young handlers’ competitions, the show will see two experienced judges take on the job of placing the main classes.

Crieff-based Robert Cockburn of the Knap flock will place the female classes and Wennington, Lancashire-based Jennifer Aiken of the Coniston flock, will take charge of the male classes.

Both judges are well known in Texel circles, with successful flocks of their own and longstanding associations with the breed.

Mrs Aiken, who runs the Coniston flock in partnership with her husband Jeff, has enjoyed success in the sale ring, selling ram lambs to 10,000gns for Coniston Equinox and previously managed the Procters and Tatham Hall flocks with her husband, prior to their dispersal. Jennifer grew up surrounded by Texels, working with the Douganhill flock managed by her father, Brian MacTaggart.

Scottish breeder Robert Cockburn has been involved with Texels since establishing his flock in 2006 and has sold to a high of 170,000gns for Knap Grumpy, with other sales at 145,000gns for Knap Vicious Sid and 100,000gns for Knap General Lee.

Robert previously won the inaugural Textraganza National Show in 2021 with Knap Daisy Duke, herself the dam of both Grumpy and General Lee.

Texel Sheep Society sales and shows committee chairman Alastair Gault of the Forkins flock, Northern Ireland, said: “Both judges are well known in the breed and their expert eye is well respected by their fellow breeders.”

Mr Cockburn said he was very much looking forward to judging the show and was honoured to have been asked to do so. “Winning the inaugural Textravaganza was a great day, so being able to come back and the judge the classes this time is a huge privilege,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Aiken said she was delighted to have the opportunity to place the male classes. “It promises to be a great spectacle and a key part of the society’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Having been around Texels all my life it is exciting to have the chance to judge what promises to be an excellent show.”

While the judges will place their own sections independently, they will join forces to award the day’s championships.

Judging the young handlers’ classes for Texel enthusiasts aged under 16 will be Lowri Williams of the Caron flock, Lampeter. Miss Williams said the classes would be a great opportunity for younger participants to showcase their showmanship skills.

She said: “There are a lot of great youngsters associated with the Texel breed and it will be an honour to judge these classes at this exciting event.”

Adding to the society activities will be a fundraising effort for the society’s 50th anniversary charity, The Farm Safety Foundation, better known as Yellow Wellies, explained Society chief executive John Yates.

“The work of Yellow Wellies in highlighting the need for farmers to take care of both their physical and mental health is vital for safeguarding the future of the farming industry,” said Mr Yates.

To kick off the fundraising activities, the society will be donating all the entry fees from the Textravaganza National Show to the anniversary fund.