Waldor the giant Italian Romagnola bull is big, and he is now also the Big Favourite. The five year old 1,2 ton heavy bull was crowned with this title on Saturday 14 October at the Groot Plaasproe at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch. Thousands of people attended this celebration of all things farm, a new extension of Agri-Expo Livestock, the most prestigious cattle expo in South Africa.
For the first time, the public could vote for their favourite animal at the expo – with Tolla (the Boer goat), Strepies (the one week old miniature donkey), Stella (the orphaned llama) and Clara (the Meatmaster) as Waldor’s competitors. Visitors could also discover unique tasting experiences such as gin flavoured cheese, Wagyu and Boer goat meat. Adam Tas, Nic Stevens and Die Wildberries entertained everyone and visitors could even partake in and learn some line-dancing.
According to Johan Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer of Agri-Expo (the organisers of the expo), they are excited about the enthusiastic response, from the public as well as from the agricultural industry, to this new concept. “With the Groot Plaasproe at Agri-Expo Livestock we succeed in our aim to create a platform that gives people the opportunity to reconnect with agriculture,” says Ehlers. “We would like to thank every visitor, exhibitor, participant and partner who contributed to the huge success of the Groot Plaasproe and Agri-Expo Livestock.”
Andrew Masterson, a well-known cattle breeder who made history by winning both the Dairy as well as the Beef Interbreed Championships this year, says he has never seen so many people at a cattle show: “It offers us an excellent marketing opportunity to show our best animals to the public.”
Waldor is one of the competitors in the prestigious beef cattle interbreed championships. When not in the ring, he and his owners, Willem and Luzahn Wagener, are part of the Santam Animal Lane at the expo where especially children learn more about agriculture in a fun way. Their stall, Wotan Romagnola Stud, was awarded the best animal exhibition award at the expo.
According to Willem Wagener, President of the Romagnola Breeders’ Association in South Africa, the Romagnola is a very old race and its purpose in South Africa is mainly for cross-breeding. Wagener says Agri-Expo Livestock is unique as it succeeds in exposing the consumer, that buys the product on the shelve, to the science behind the product too: “This year’s expo exceeded all expectations. Learners from the De la Bat School for the Deaf and many people in wheelchairs also had the opportunity to meet Waldor – it is this special interaction between human and animal that makes it worthwile for us as exhibitors.”
Agri-Expo, a non-profit agricultural society, promotes the image of agriculture through marketing initiatives such as expos, including the South African Cheese Festival and Agri-Expo Livestock. Next year, the Groot Plaasproe takes place on Saturday 13 October at Agri-Expo Livestock (Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 October 2018). For more information, visit www.livestock.org.za, follow Livestock on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or contact Agri-Expo at 021-975 4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.