Extra efforts worth the hassle as 41st North Yorkshire County Show defeats downpours

Sheep judging at the 41st North Yorkshire County Show. Picture by Gerard Binks.
Sheep judging at the 41st North Yorkshire County Show. Picture by Gerard Binks.

Extra efforts to overcome the affects of a week of downpours on the eve of the 41st North Yorkshire County Show proved worthwhile as organisers estimated that they had attracted their best attendance yet at the Camp Hill estate near Kirklington.

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A Charolais bull being exhibited at the 41st North Yorkshire County Show. Picture Gerard Binks.

A Charolais bull being exhibited at the 41st North Yorkshire County Show. Picture Gerard Binks.

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At 9pm on Saturday, the show's president Vernon Phillips was shovelling hard core to make a key show field entrance passable for vehicles after days of wet weather.

Fortunately, the repairs were sufficient and thousands of visitors turned up for the show today as it was hosted by land owners Robert and Jo Ropner for a third year.

Eight-year-old Jessie Barker from Kirbymoorside tries to keep a Shorthorn calf under control at the 41st North Yorkshire County Show. Picture by Gerard Binks.

Eight-year-old Jessie Barker from Kirbymoorside tries to keep a Shorthorn calf under control at the 41st North Yorkshire County Show. Picture by Gerard Binks.

"Last night at 7pm we made a decision to get a mini digger to dig out a section of earth at a gate and that has made today viable," said show secretary Alan Andrew, who was in post when the event was last cancelled because of the weather in 2012; a costly disaster that threatened the financial viability of future shows.

"That gate had the potential to kill the show so it was worth every effort and the impression I'm getting today is that this is a happy crowd - I think it is the best we have had at Camp Hill."

Mr Andrew, of Northallerton, was influential in securing the show's financial future, leading a huge fundraising drive after the 2012 cancellation, and such has been his commitment to the cause, he and his wife Pam were chosen to attend The Queen's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace last month.

In the show's livestock sections there were 120 or so cattle, but sheep numbers were down, thought to be partly due to a clash with the Hampshire Down's national breed show.

Ashleigh Fenwick, acting as chief cattle steward for the first time, said the show gave her a lift amid otherwise tough market conditions for beef producers.

"With the rise of veganism, there has been a downturn in terms of beef counters," she said. "People aren't eating as many steaks and some butchers have lost business. Hopefully trade will get better as we enter barbecue season.

"The show gives you encouragement though, especially when you see that the average age of people showing is getting lower every year. It's becoming more fashionable, families are instilling show traditions in the next generation."

Family traditions were evident in the beef ring where father and daughter, Stephen Donaldson, 60, and Melissa Donaldson, 21, of Little Langton, won the supreme championship with their nine-year-old British Blonde, previously a breed champion at the Great Yorkshire Show, and its eight-month-old calf which was making its show debut.

The Donaldsons had bought their winning cow from Andrew Stott of Cumbria as a one-year-old and it has gone on to become their herd's foundation cow.

"I'm hoping the calf follows in her footsteps," said Mr Donaldson, whose farming enterprise comprises of 1,000 ewes and 60 suckler cows.

In reserve was Trencrom Miss McKool, a British Blue owned by Chester Brown of Lockton near Pickering and shown by Katie Boyes.

The dairy champion was a two-calf Holstein called Zel Amanda shown by Rachel Goldie, 25, of Danby Wiske-based T D Goldie & son, whose two-year-old heifer Montery Donfloss finished runner-up.

Alan Goldie, Ms Goldie's father, said of the winner: "It goes back to a cow I saw in Canada, five generations ago, in the 1980s. We bought its grandmother in this country.

"It gives about 50 litres of milk a day and this is its first time out."

The supreme sheep title was won by Steven Kirby, 24, of Ainderby Steeple near Northallerton, who last won the show's top sheep prize in 2014. His homebred Texel gimmer shearling, on only its second show appearance, pipped Pamela Lupton's Suffolk which was named reserve champion.

Of his winning sheep, Mr Kirby said: "It was placed at Otley but has filled out a lot since then. A month's made a big difference.

"It's a huge boost to win. It's five years ago since my last interbreed win here so it means a lot to do it again."

Entertainment in the show's main ring included a motorcycle display team, a parade of alpacas and pig racing.

The show's farriery display, returning for a second year, gave visitors the chance to see shoes being made and then fitted onto the hooves of waiting horses.