Emblazoned on the McLauchlan family’s show gear you’ll find the words, ‘families that show together, grow together’.
Jo and Phil McLauchlan own P.J Cattle Co, an Angus stud in Glenormiston North in Victoria’s south-west and have been showing the stud cattle at the Melbourne Royal Show every year since 1996.
Showing has been a lifelong love for Jo. Her grandfather exhibited the Beef Shorthorn breed and Jo was in the ring before she could even walk. It’s a tradition she’s carried on with her own children, Lochie, 19, and Tiffany, 21.
“We do it for the culture and the lifestyle, and of course it’s not a cheap hobby but I always say ‘I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I show cows’,” Jo laughs.
“We’re part of a show family, a cattle family, and that’s why we do it.”
Jo has passed on another special tradition to her children. She won the inaugural Melbourne Royal Show Gun Fitter competition in 2007. Her own progeny have done the same, with Lochie taking home the prize in 2017, and Tiffany in 2019.
The competition sees fitters prepare cattle for the judging ring, washing, grooming and clipping the animal to allow the handler to show it at its best.
Jo has returned to judge the competition over the years and says the stakes have risen when it comes to claiming the title of ‘Gun Fitter’.
“I washed and combed my animal three times a week in the month leading up to the show in 2007, but when Lochie won he’d been washing and blow drying his cow daily,” Jo shares.
“I remember walking out with a comb and three products but these days they walk out with a showbox, power drills, and a roto brush to comb their legs up, so it’s definitely more intense now.”
Jo was a key driver of the centenary celebration of the Angus breed at Melbourne Royal in 2019.