THERE WAS a fine display of Yorkshire pride in the finale of a championship in the beef ring that celebrates the fine heritage of local cattle.
To rapturous reaction from a large crowd of spectators, Leyburn teenager Luke Wilkinson stepped forward as his home-bred British Blue was named Yorkshire Bred, Owned and Shown champion at Countryside Live.
“For Yorkshire,” exclaimed Nidderdale farmer Joe Stoney as he handed Mr Wilkinson, 14, the winner’s rosette to display on Millie, his 580kg champion beast.
Afterwards, Mr Wilkinson, who also finished second in the Beef Young Handlers class, and was showing Millie in partnership with his sister Beth, said: “It is an amazing feeling. We have had a good season, a reserve champion at the Great Yorkshire and champions at Stokesley and Wensleydale shows, so we hoped we would do well - we just didn’t think this well.”
Reserve champion in the regional championship was Millhouse Magic bred by Claire Cropper and John Mellin of Long Preston.
There were more ecstatic celebrations when the event’s Supreme Beef Championship was decided.
Winner, Sally Lloyd, of Leominster, Herefordshire, pumped a fist in the air when learning her 14-month-old homebred British Blue X called Minion took the prestigious title.
She said: “I won here last in 2006 but this is the first time I have won it in my own right with a homebred animal so it’s really satisfying.”
Luke Wilkinson again gained recognition with Millie the British Blue being named reserve champion overall.
In the sheep section, the winners of the Supreme Champion Pair of Butchers Lambs, David and Linda Wadland, and show team member Kate Gunn, had made a 150-mile trip from Daventry, Northamptonshire to return to Countryside Live for the fourth time. They last won the same championship in 2012.
Asked why he travels to Harrogate especially for the event, Mr Wadland said: “It’s a great competition and good company, and a chance for Northamptonshire to take on Yorkshire - a bit like the cricket.”
His winning pair of March-born purebred Beltex ewes weighed a combined 88kg and pleased the judge with the fullness of their composition.
Countryside Live prides itself on being a family-friendly event. The likes of Diggerland, where children can operate small JCB diggers, and the Create and Explore area for badge making, face painting and willow weaving, were geared towards a young audience, and the same focus extended to the show rings.
Seven sheep were shown by children in the Young Handlers contest for eight-year-olds and under, in which Jack Whiteford, aged six, beat his twin sisters Abbie and Jessica to take top prize. Jack, who has his own flock of 15 ewes at his family’s farm in Brampton, Cumbria, was showing a black Texel lamb.