Mark Casci reflects on a sensational Great Yorkshire Show in a week in which the region shone brighter than ever.
The show has been one of the proud monuments to Yorkshire’s culture for more than century and always celebrated what’s best about our region.
However, having come off the back of a weekend in which the Broad Acres showcased its beauty and capability to literally billions of people around the world, it took on a whole new level of importance and proved, without wishing to sound sentimental, that this has quite simply one of proudest weeks we have had in our region’s history.
Organisers could have been forgiven if they had been worried that the show would be overshadowed by the spectacle of the Grand Depart.
After all, it was a once in a lifetime event, one that had the eyes of the world on Yorkshire and had brought us all together unlike any other event in generations. Could we bothered with the show? You bet.
After three days of sunshine and blue skies, the Great Yorkshire Show helped sustain and enhance the positivity.
I have never seen so many bikes on the showground and the talk of stands and rings as the show got underway, was of course what had happened on Saturday and Sunday.
I lost count of the superlatives I heard. “It couldn’t have been better”, “more than I had hoped for”, “jaw-dropping”, “absolutely sensational”...the plaudits never stopped.
But the talk soon turned to the show itself. Not one but two Royal visitors, the usual extraordinarily strong displays of livestock, excitement about the show jumping, the price of beef, visitors from Japan of all places....there was no shortage of conversations.
Perhaps the most commonly heard expression however was a joyous “Hello! How are you?”, the cry heard hundreds of times as old friends and colleagues met to catch up - the vital and often under-appreciated service that the show provides to its rural constituents, who so often have to work in isolation and for whom the show is a once a year chance to see friends and former colleagues.
The show delivered on this in spades, as it did on its other unsung duty, to showcase what rural life and business does for Britain.
It was a joy to see first-time visitors chatting happily with farmers in the livestock pens and to see the public being educated by artisan food producers in the food tents.
The greatest joy however was seeing the next generation of Yorkshire farmers revelling in the atmosphere.
This is my 10th Yorkshire Show and I have never seen so many young people at the showground. From the group of teenagers who were queueing up to ask how they could get into sheep-shearing to the young girl expertly handling a cow ten times her size in the cattle ring, it was clear that the future of farming, that most vital of Yorkshire trades, is in more than safe hands.
So, as we head into the weekend after the week we’ll never forget we can also be secure that the future will see Yorkshire continue to draw the envy and respect of all those we come into contact with, be it by the side of a Dales drystone wall or through the TV screen of a cycling fan.
We really do live in a majestic place, our proud and wonderful home. Hooray for Yorkshire.