Bingley Show helps tackle rural-urban divide at its 137th edition

Staged in a district that is home to more than 500,000 people, Bingley’s annual agricultural show is a powerful chance to bring together those from both sides of the rural-urban divide.

Josh Martin, Britt Whitworth and Paige Ives from Leeds prepare their Blue Texel sheep for judging at the 137th Bingley Show in Myrtle Park. Picture by Tony Johnson.

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Cattle being judged in the ring at the 137th Bingley Show at Myrtle Park. Picture by Tony Johnson.

A wet start to the event’s 137th incarnation yesterday may not have been conducive to that mission, but for the thousands of visitors who did indulge in the flavour of farming on their doorsteps, a valuable experience awaited.

“Our shows are different to others,” explained David Hempel, vice chairman of Airedale Agricultural Society, the show’s organisers. “Our audience is less familiar with livestock than a lot of shows, such as those in the Dales, so visitors are always interested to learn and speak to exhibitors - and they certainly did that.”

Of the messages he hoped visitors took away, he said: “It’s a chance to meet farmers who can perhaps explain their livestock is not part of a factory production system and that they live a good life.”

Livestock winners

A display of vintage tractors alongside livestock pens at the 137th Bingley Show. Picture by Tony Johnson.

The show’s supreme beef champion was a Belgian Blue heifer from John Stephenson and Son of Bordley.

The overall dairy champion was a Shorthorn shown by Jane Foster of Carleton, while the supreme sheep was a Charollais belonging to Steven and Julie Hobson and family of Hawksworth.

No poultry

Cattle and sheep are the agricultural backbone of a show with a history dating back to 1862, but this year’s poultry classes were cancelled because of depleted entry numbers.

Mr Hempel said he hoped they would return next year after an unfortunate clash with shows in Penrith and Lancashire which attract strong poultry sections.

Bingley Show, which is held in Myrtle Park, incorporates a 10k race and it was won by Joe Whitaker, who normally competes in the event’s show jumping classes, in a time of 46 minutes and 59 seconds.