Prestigious Champion of Champions’ judge at this year’s Northumberland County Show has been announced as longstanding competitor, supporter and sponsor Geoff Hubbuck.
He said: “It’s a great honour to be asked to award the highest accolade at the County Show. Each animal in the Grand Parade is a champion, and they’re the best of the best. It will be a tough job!”
Mr Hubbuck has superb credentials for this demanding role. As a youngster he and his brother Derek used to compete in the show’s Equine Section, and even won the Best Ridden Pony class.
Mr Hubbuck said: “In those days, the steam trains used to roar down the tracks to the side of the show field at Corbridge.
“Most of the animals were terrified, but Derek and I used to ride our ponies every evening on the green further down the railway line, so they never batted an eyelid!”
His family went on to breed show ponies, and kept race horses. The Hubbuck family have also competed in fat cattle classes over the years, and currently keep 55 store cattle, a small flock of sheep and some horses at their farm in Hexham.
Many locals will know of Mr Hubbuck through his family business, the agricultural merchants JS Hubbuck Ltd.
The company was founded by his father John in 1948 who started out cycling around the region on a pushbike, selling brushes to farmers.
With the purchase of a van, the range expanded to include lime and slag; and by the time Geoff joined in 1980, they stocked a full range of agricultural, equestrian supplies, equipment, clothing and gifts.
The company now delivers across the whole of the north from Cumbria to Durham, Scotland to North Yorkshire, and even boasts customers in Lincolnshire and Suffolk.
JS Hubbuck Ltd has been present at the County Show for many years and its trade stand is a regular fixture. For the past three years, the business has sponsored the Champion of Champions competition.
As a result Mr Hubbuck has been at close quarters with the hopefuls in the Grand Parade and has some thoughts on what he’ll be looking for.
He explained: “Choosing the Champion of Champions relies on a general all-round knowledge of livestock and agriculture.
“Obviously the winner has to be an outstanding example of their breed, but I’ll be looking for a bit of extra star quality that’s hard to define.
“I also think there should be an acknowledgement of the animal’s provenance.
“If its owner has carefully bred and improved their stock, and developed a champion through their own hard work over many years, then they deserve to be respected for their labours.”