Agricultural show season opens at Otley

The 206th Otley Show took place today.
The 206th Otley Show took place today.
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ROSETTES HAVE been presented to the first agricultural show winners of the season in Yorkshire today, with the 206th Otley Show attracting thousands of visitors.

The show, one of the longest-running in the region, is the traditional show season opener and the mood was mainly upbeat despite the low returns farmers in the dairy, beef and lamb sectors are receiving at the moment.

Otley attracts a loyal contingent of beef, dairy and sheep farmers to compete for prizes in the show rings and this year saw record entries in the sheep section.

Show chairman Francis Caton, 51, a member of the Wharfedale Agricultural Society, said preparations for the show had gone well and he was thankful for the dry weather.

Mr Caton, a beef and sheep farmer at Weston near Otley, was acting as chairman of the show for the first time this year.

Prior to his appointment Mr Caton was involved in the show’s sheep section for more than 20 years and by becoming chairman has followed in the footsteps of his father Frank Caton, who has previously held the role.

In the sheep pens, it was the show chairman’s cousin, Ashley Caton, 38, of Otterdale, North Yorkshire, who won the supreme sheep championship with his homebred Blue Faced Leicester tup.

Mr Caton, who is the chairman of his local agricultural show, Malham Show, was accompanied at the trophy presentation by his wife and four young children.

He said: “This is the first time I have shown at Otley and I’m delighted to win. It is most unexpected.”

Julie and Gordon Sedgewick, of Aycliffe, County Durham, won the supreme beef interbreed champion with their 510kg Limousin Cross heifer, Priceless, whose first 24 hours as a newborn last year were spent motherless after her mother’s insides ruptured, killing her during birth.

Priceless was paraded in the ring by Sedgewick family friend, Hannah Brown, aged 20.

Mrs Sedgewick said: “We have been coming to Otley for ten years but had never won the overall championship until now.”

The supreme dairy champion was David Lawson, of Arthington, who won with a Holstein milking heifer from his family’s closed breeding herd during his first appearance at the show in four years.

Mr Lawson, a fourth generation dairy farmer, said the win at his local show offered some light in otherwise tough times for dairy farming.

As well as traditional livestock classes, visitors to the show watched horses and ponies in competitive action, while the best poultry and produce were presented for judging.

Families gathered around the main ring saw acrobatic horse-riding tricks performed by the Stampede Stunt Company and parades by the Airedale Beagles and the Highmoor Bloodhounds, Yorkshire’s first pack to be bred and trained in a recognised equestrian and hound sport.

A musical backdrop was provided by Otley Brass Band.