Hoof and hook stirs 50-year memories

HAPPY MEMORIES: Graham Reid and David Cory took the chance to reminsce.
HAPPY MEMORIES: Graham Reid and David Cory took the chance to reminsce. Toni Somes

THEY presented the ribbons to younger winners, then sat in the grandstand reminiscing about how fast 50 years can pass.

Cattlemen Graham Reid and David Cory have been involved with the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society hoof and hook competition since it kicked off in the early 1960s.

Last Thursday they were special guests as the competition celebrated its 50th year.

"It's changed a lot since we started.

"Back then there was only one class and it was grass-fed," Mr Cory explained.

The former chairman said now the event had expanded to include eight classes with a field of exhibitors drawn from across south-east Queensland.

For Thanes Creek cattle producer Graham Reid, the most significant shift has been "breeding and feeding".

"The biggest difference was back then it was all purebred cattle," he said.

"This year I think it was practically all crossbreds."

He said improvements in livestock transport and an increase in intensive feedlot operations also helped the event expand beyond shire boundaries.

In the early days Mr Cory said the competition was timed to coincide with finished cattle coming off winter oats crops.

"The truth is they could have it any time now because I think every beast that comes through would have been on some sort of grain," he said.

When quizzed about why producers, like themselves, supported the concept of a hoof and hook competition so enthusiastically, they were philosophical.

"For me the clear benefit for being involved is it gives you a good understanding of the market requirements," Mr Cory said.

"Today the specifications are very well spelt out for producers however it is still good to assess how you are going."

It's a motivation with which Mr Reid agrees.

"Back then unless you went through the meatworks with your cattle, you really didn't always know how they

compared and whether they were what the market

wanted," he said.

"So this competition, well, it was a good guide."

Both are adamant the competition will be around for "at least" another 50 years.

"As long as people want to eat beef, then cattle producers will need competitions like this," Mr Cory said.

"So yes, I think it will be around for a long time to come."

A lot may have changed - including the blokes they once lined up against in the exhibitors' circle - but if you ask Graham Reid the most important thing endures.

"This Warwick competition is still the toughest carcase competition to win in Queensland," he laughed.

Topics:  hoof and hook warwick show and rodeo society