Liz Gibson parades Blue Stone Flo while Anton Gibson holds calf Blue Stone Jackie during beef cattle judging at the Canterbury A and P Show in Christchurch. Photo supplied.
When it comes to showing beef cattle at the Canterbury A and
P Show, the Meat and Wool Cup is the holy grail for
So when 3-year-old Santa Gertrudis heifer Blue Stone Flo was
named runner-up in the cup, which encompasses all breeds, at
this year's show in Christchurch, it was a proud moment for
owners Anton and Liz Gibson, from Middlemarch.
The success was particularly sweet, given that the Santa
Gertrudis is a minority breed in New Zealand and the Gibsons
are the only South Island stud breeders.
It was a breed that they ''absolutely believed'' had a place
in the beef industry in New Zealand and, while it had been a
10-year struggle to get that message out, their client base
was growing, Mrs Gibson said.
To be so highly placed at a prestigious event such as the
Canterbury A and P Show was great recognition for the breed,
which originated in Texas, in the United States.
In 2011, Flo won the all-breeds yearling heifer title at the
show, the first time a minority breed had won that accolade.
She had a year away from the show ring, before making her
comeback this year, with her calf. When cattle had been
well-handled and broken-in, it was ''not too big a deal'' to
bring them back in to exhibit, Mrs Gibson said.
She described Flo as ''totally correct'' and a very good
example of the breed and of the type they were trying to
breed for New Zealand conditions.
She had very good milking ability, was rearing a
''wonderful'' calf and she was an excellent mother.
Mrs Gibson likened her to a thoroughbred horse, saying she
was very alert and aware, and it was a pleasure to work with
her. She was free moving and good natured.
It was Mrs Gibson who paraded Flo at the show and she
admitted that she was very nervous when it came to judging
the Meat and Wool Cup.
''Personally, I felt the pressure. It was over to me to
parade her properly,'' she said.
Doing so well was a ''huge thrill'' for all the Gibson family
- son Will and daughter Jodie are very involved in the
farming operation - and particularly as Flo was bred from
The Gibsons, who have about 40 stud cows, took six cattle to
the show, including some of Will's Hereford cattle.
They usually exhibited at about five shows - Canterbury,
Wyndham, North Otago, Upper Clutha and Mackenzie - although
not necessarily every year, if it did not work out.
Shows were a great family hobby and it was also a good
opportunity to ''showcase'' their animals and network with
people. It was also a good social outing, Mrs Gibson said.
• The Meat and Wool Cup was won by a 6-year-old Angus cow,
Lilliesleaf Boleyn, and her calf, owned by Rob Hall, from
Waikaka, in Southland.