IT HAS stood the test of time for nigh on 150 years and one of North Yorkshire’s most popular agricultural shows today saw off another challenge - the dank British summer.
The final attendance figure is expected to be hit but the monotonous drizzle did not stop thousands of visitors from heading to Welburn Park in Kirkbymoorside, with the crowds swelling as the day wore on.
Tractors were on standby to help move cars off the show field, and some parts became a mud bath but 232 cattle entries to match the record set in 2013 and huge support in other sections, including more than 1,000 sheep were cause for cheer.
Farmers themselves are of course used to much worse conditions and exhibitors were in high spirits, not least among the show’s headline winners.
Whenby farmer Charles Marwood is on a roll. By winning the 149th Ryedale Show’s sheep interbreed championship, he made it three top title wins out of three shows this summer. Having already won the interbreed contest at Driffield and the Great Yorkshire with his two-shear Charollais ram called Rhaeadr Nock, he pipped his rivals to the championships here.
It was groundhog day for pedigree breeder Ernie Sherwin, of Nosterfield near Bedale, who was reserve champion with his Wensleydale - just as he had been to Mr Marwood at the Great Yorkshire.
After receiving his rosette, Mr Sherwin drew the attention of a roving Countryfile film crew, who were visiting the show to capture footage of native breeds. Wherever the programme’s presenter Adam Henson wandered, he drew a gathering of onlookers.
The champion dairy cow belonged to Kevin Midgley, again. Enchanted Topshop Honey, a second calver Holstein Freisian aged three years triumphed at what was her first run out of the show season - and it was a second successive Ryedale win for the herd.
Mr Midgley, of Thorpe Bassett, said: “I’ve been showing for a lot of years. It’s great to win, especially after winning last year.”
Ken Jackson, of Stubbs Walden, won the supreme beef title with a homebred British Blonde cow and calf duo that are descents of Hallmark Boxster, the bull that was eventually saved from being culled following a costly legal battle that forced Defra to repeat a bungled test for TB.
Reserve beef champion was Whiteley & Courts of Scawton with a Limousin. The 14-month-old beast was shown in the ring by Ian Courts, whose father Jim owns the animal. Ian’s sister Frankie was also part of the show team.
The champion goat was a homebred first kidder, Avenue Teasel, shown by David Shipley of York, while the best pig in show was a Large White sow presented by Charlotte Holding, also of York.
Young handler contests tend to attract the crowds and in the sheep rings, the champion young handler was Stella Chapman, 13, of Hempholme, with her Suffolk. Henry Hall, four, of Hutton Rudby was reserve champion.
Show president Freda Cockerill, of near Pickering, who has been involved in the show since 1980, mainly in the sheep section, hailed today’s event a success despite the inclement weather, saying: “It was a disappointing start to the day but most people have turned out and it’s a great show that once again has enjoyed great support. The attendance may have slid a bit but we have a lot of supporters who turn out every year whatever the weather.”