Shepparton’s Ian Simpson spreading his judging wings

By Geoff Adams

When an international poultry organisation was seeking an experienced judge who could bring independent and fresh eyes on their game bird competition, they found him in Shepparton, Australia.

Bird breeder Ian Simpson will soon be flying to the United Kingdom to judge in the Federation Championship Show being held at Staffordshire, England, in mid-December.

By day he is a senior account executive with insurance company Griffiths Goodall, and in his spare time enjoys raising poultry known as modern game birds. They are an ornamental breed of bird which was developed after World War I, with a short body tapering to the tail, and an erect stance.

Mr Simpson’s enthusiasm and considerable experience has developed to the point that he has been a judge at Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Melbourne shows as well as numerous other regional competitions.

Now it appears his reputation has spread overseas.

‘‘I was actually approached last year but couldn’t go and this year they asked again,’’ Mr Simpson said at his Shepparton home.

He is delighted at the invitation and sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but doesn’t over-play the offer.

‘‘I think they were looking for someone with fresh eyes who has not seen their birds. They’re interested in what someone out of their usual circle can bring.

‘‘I have always been an admirer of the Brits’ moderns ever since I started breeding this very unique show fowl. They are very true to type.

‘‘With the invention of social media I have formed friendships with many English breeders and I am certainly looking forward to meeting them in person,’’ Mr Simpson said.

He will also be presenting a talk to the members of the Modern Game Club UK and presenting some trophies which the Australian Modern Game Club has asked him to take with him.

The huge show, in a city north of London, will attract about 6600 birds in the overall event (compared to the Sydney Royal Show which has about 2000 entries) and he expects to see about 500 birds in his modern game bird division.

Mr Simpson picked up the hobby from his father, Don, who is a life member of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria. Ian has been showing birds since he was about eight years old and judging since he was 16.

He doesn’t shirk from judging but his only concern is that the birds will be slightly different to the Australian game birds.

He said he was keen to compare them with the Australian breeds.