Preparations have been aided at Otterington Hall near Northallerton for the North Yorkshire County Show this Sunday by buoyant entries in the sheep pens - boosted by the incentive of extra regional prestige this year.
In what is a first for the show, it will be a battleground in the Regional Sheep Exhibitors’ Championship. A concept dreamt up by neighbouring Malton Show’s chief sheep steward Lizzie Jennings, exhibitors will collect points for wins at the show which can be added to by collecting more points at Malton, Driffield, Ryedale and Thornton le Dale shows over the course of the summer.
The highest points scorer at the end of the season will be heralded as the region’s ultimate sheep showman 2015.
Ms Jennings said: “This awards the champion of champions for this region. The competition is a level playing field for all exhibitors in the area, whether they exhibit hill, upland or lowland breeds.”
The shows involved in the first regional contest last year saw a significant increase in sheep entries compared to 2013 numbers and, already, the North Yorkshire County Show is feeling the benefit too.
Len Cragg, manager of the show’s sheep section, said: “In 2013 we had 487 sheep in the catalogue, 2014 we had 486, this year I have numbered to 591 despite several exhibitors taking stock to the Royal Highland Show.”