A decision to start Sapphire Limousin stud earlier this year has proven a gem of an idea for Bianca Wood, Halbury, and her partner Tate Purdue.
Bianca won the hotly-contested intermediate champion handler at last week's SA Junior Heifer Expo with the couple's foundation female, a black heifer, Raven Gillard S181, bought at Raven Limousin stud dispersal sale in February.
When judge Scott Myers, The Rock, NSW, shook the 17 year old's hand and gave her the nod from the five other class winners there was a loud round of applause from the crowd.
Tears streamed down Bianca's face as she stepped forward to accept the broad ribbon.
"I didn't even have a heifer to bring until we bought her," she said.
Mr Myers praised Bianca's proficiency to use pressure on the halter to balance her heifer and have the animal positioned in the best spot to catch the judge's attention.
Bianca says she is still learning how to control her nerves in the show ring but absolutely loves showing cattle.
"I love the adrenaline and excitement of walking with a heifer while everyone is watching," she said.
She believes the strong connection she has with Gillard "Gilly" and her docile temperament certainly helped in the win.
Tate and Bianca chose the Limousin breed because the Limousin steers that Tate had traded in a mob of several breeds outperformed the others.
"We had already bought a couple of unregistered animals to breed cross bred cows so we got told you have that many Limousins why don't you start a stud- so we did," she said.
Sapphire stud has quickly grown to eight females with two of these cows calving recently.
Since leaving school at the end of last year Bianca has been working on a dairy farm. She is excited about starting work soon for the Vogt family, Maryvale Limousin and Angus stud, Kapunda.
She is also looking forward to showing Gillard at the Royal Adelaide and Royal Melbourne Shows.
"When we were walking through the sale pens she walked with a nice balance through her body and she stood herself up really well as well as being very structurally correct," she said.
"When looking at her pedigree on the database we saw she was closely related to the original (Raven) Miss Gillard and were told by many people it a was a cow line not to miss."
Mr Myers said it had been very difficult separating the top few place getters in many classes with many entrants worthy of blue ribbons.
"It is all about the animals - the best handler is one that blends into the background, he said.
"They are the one where the animal is always standing the way it needs to be and is positioned in the right spot and every time the judge looks at the animal it is standing absolutely spot on profile, that's what makes a great parader."
Senior champion handler was awarded to Hamish Maclure, Tarcutta, NSW.
Mr Myers - who is a stud stock agent with H Francis & Co at Wagga Wagga also runs an Angus and Limousin backgrounding herd- said Hamish was "flawless" in his parading of his Limousin steer.
He said Hamish was exactly what was needed in a top stud groom or someone to parade cattle for a Royal Show.
"He was cool, calm and collected and he always had that animal balanced," he said.
"I put a bit of pressure on all the cattle before to see how they react and all he was focused on was making sure that steer looked mickey mouse for the judge."
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