Small but perfectly formed, Arthington Show returns

Arthington Show organisers prepare for this weekend's show.  (l-r)Sam Asquith, Bruce Everall, President, Ian Kirby, volunteer coordinator, Ryan Dowling, Vice Chairman,  Adrian Tate, Chairman,  and  Lisa Hardy, Show Secretary.   Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Arthington Show organisers prepare for this weekend's show. (l-r)Sam Asquith, Bruce Everall, President, Ian Kirby, volunteer coordinator, Ryan Dowling, Vice Chairman, Adrian Tate, Chairman, and Lisa Hardy, Show Secretary. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
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Mix a picturesque location next to the River Wharfe, quality cattle breeding names such as Stoney, Stephenson and young Lucy Corner competing; heavy horses, terrier racing, strong sheep classes and hundreds of horses. This is Arthington Show that puts on its 99th show tomorrow just off Castley Lane near Pool Bridge in Pool in Wharfedale.

While the show is tiny in comparison to its heavyweight counterparts, the Great Yorkshire Show and Driffeld Show, this has a long and proud history that sees it still firmly entrenched in agriculture.

The Arthington, Bramhope & Pool District Horticultural and Agricultural Society was founded in 1906 and today’s committee are already preparing for a special 100th show next year, but attention on Sunday’s show was uppermost in their minds when I met with the team this week.

“We get some very good entries in the cattle and sheep classes,” says show secretary Lisa Hardy, a dairy farmer’s daughter from Cullingworth near Haworth who now runs a business called Jowett Stone.

“We’ve increased on our cattle numbers this year with around 30 cows at the show. Our main breeds are Belgian Blues and Herefords and we get entries from all over Yorkshire and as far north as Darlington.

“One new addition that we hope will attract even more for future years is the cattle marquee. We’d certainly like to attract many more and with that in mind this year we have increased the number of cattle classes to 20.”

Sheep classes are looking strong too with around 110 entries and they are presided over by another farmer’s daughter, Sam Asquith, who is in her second year on the sheep committee. Her parents have nearby Riverside Farm where they farm a mixed beef and sheep enterprise.

“Years ago I came to the show with my ponies but now I show my own pedigree Beltex sheep that I breed for producing quality tups and breeding ewes. My flock currently runs to 35 breeding ewes and I show them at a number of other shows.

“So far this year I’ve had champion Beltex at Otley Show, champion trophy at Askwith Show and after I’ve shown them here I will be taking them to the Great Yorkshire.

“The Texels are the breed that we get most entries for but we’re always aiming to increase the classes further and the Any Other Pure Breed section is growing.”

Bruce Everall is show president and has been coming to Arthington Show for the past 50 years having moved up from Herefordshire with his parents in his early 20s. He runs Acrecliffe Equestrian Centre with his wife Anne that specialises in teaching riding to all ages and producing quality breeding stock.

“I was taken with both Arthington Show and Otley Show when I first arrived in Yorkshire and I don’t think either has changed dramatically in all the years I’ve been involved.

“My wife does dressage and side saddle. She’s involved with a side saddle display at the show.”

Around a decade ago the show switched from being held at the top of Pool Bank to its now beautiful location at Castley Lane thanks to two local farmers Michael Greenwood and Nigel Launder.

“Without their support we wouldn’t have a show. We use Michael’s land for car parking and Nigel has the field where all the competition action takes place.”

Arthington Show isn’t the kind of show that can afford to have big-money headline signings for its main ring but it does fit the bill by maintaining its agricultural heritage this year with sheepdog handler Carol Melling giving a display with ducks and sheep.

“We’re doing very well,” says show chairman Adrian Tate who runs a fencing supplies and contracting business at the top of Pool Bank and is also involved in running two national trial bike events elsewhere.

“I started getting involved with the show as it’s my local show and I’ve had involvement with the pony classes in the past. We’re always on the lookout for new blood on the committee and more people to help in the lead up to the show and on show day itself.”

Arthington Show takes place in Pool in Wharfedale tomorrow, Sunday, July 3.