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Stalwart honoured . . . John Barber with Royal Agricutlural Society president Geoff Smith who presented an RAS Medal for his winning entry in the district competition weighing in at 7.09kg.Weighty head . . . John Barber with his 10.84kg head which won the open red section.

Judges confer . . . Judges Ross Chambers, left, Steven Robinson and Frances Bardsley discuss entries.Oxford deer farmer John Barber, a supporter of the Oxford A&P Association’s velvet competition from its inception over 30 years ago, was awarded a Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) medal at the competition last Friday evening.

A winning entry in the district red competition, weighing 7.09kg, earned him the honour, being the first time an RAS medal has been allocated to the velvet competition.

It was presented by RAS president Geoff Smith.

Stalwart honoured . . . John Barber with Royal Agricultural Society presidenet Geoff Smith who presented Mr Barber with an RAS Medal for his winning entry in the district red competition weighing in at 7.09kg. Photo: Robyn Bristow

Mr Barber also won the open red with a head weighing 10.84kg and took out the All Comers Trophy and Challenge Cup with an entry in the district Wapiti, with a head weighing 9.80kg.

He told the gathering that at one stage the competition was so successful “it almost got out of control”, with keen interest from deer farmers throughout Canterbury in entering the contest at a time when there were more than 30 plants in Christchurch processing velvet. This number had reduced significantly today.

Those heady days were now gone, with entries down a little on last year at this year’s competition.

A judge, Ross Chambers, from Provelco, said while entries were fewer than normal there were some “terrific” heads and the competition entires showed the value of “quality over quantity”.

“I was judging the commercial class and you could have thrown a blanket over all the entries because of the quality,” he said.

“Growing good velvet does not happen by accident.”

Mr Chambers said it was great to be part of an event where you could have fun and enjoy the camaraderie.

He was joined in the judging panel by Frances Bardsley, also from Provelco, and Steve Robinson, from U.B.Bio.

Results were: Open Red (Glenalbany Cup): John Barber 1, Wayside Partnership 2, Craig and Shayne Cockburn 3.

District Red (Elder Cup): John Barber 1 and 2, Stokes Bros 3.

Commercial: Stokes Farming 1 and 3, Dave and Sheila Neal 2.

District Wapiti (Challenge Cup): John Barber.

All Comers Trophy: John Barber.