Ryedale Show is a hit in its 151st year

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Ryedale Show followed up its bumper 150th instalment with another successful showcase of the area’s proud agricultural prowess, as a new record was set in its thriving livestock section.

The annual countryside celebration returned to Welburn Park in Kirkbymoorside today and followed up last year’s record attendance with a further satisfying feat, attracting an all-time high of 1,154 sheep entries across 27 classes.

Show organisers even had to limit each sheep exhibitor to two entries per class to cope with demand, while cattle numbers also came close to recording new heights, with a healthy 228 entries.

Christine Thompson, the show’s secretary, said: “It’s got to the point with livestock entries that we have got as many as we can take.

“We are happy being at full capacity and we are very fortunate to be with cattle, trade stands and sheep - to make the show any bigger would dilute it.

“Taking any further steps would be a big job. All the volunteers; we have about 100 of them, give as much as they can out of the goodness of their hearts and we can’t ask any more of them, and the show all relies on the generosity of the Shaw family who lend us the land.”

Taking the show’s overall champion sheep title was a pedigree Suffolk gimmer shearling presented by Mark Bulmer from just three miles away at Salton.

“My family has shown here for 70 years and we had never won the interbreed before,” he said.

“There’s some very good sheep that’s been shown so to win is unbelievable.”

The dairy champion was a red Holstein, Manor Haven Barbed Wire Ashlyn, which was being shown for the very first time by Stuart and Sandra Wood and family who farm 700 acres at Leppington near Malton.

The cow’s mother was imported from the US as an embryo from one of the most famous cows in the world, Triday Ashlyn, which was once known as the Global Holstein champion.

Mr Wood said: “We haven’t shown at Ryedale for four or five years and this is the first time she has been anywhere, so we’re delighted.”

Reserve dairy champion was Mermaid 335, an Ayrshire shown by James Waterhouse from York.

Dylan Townend of Broughton took the interbreed beef championship with Clifftown Ladyluck, a British Blue heifer that had already recorded overall wins at Malton and Lincolnshire shows.

In reserve was County Durham’s Lucy Corner, 22, with her homebred British Blonde heifer, Lucyland Jellybean, another successful animal on this year’s show circuit having been declared the interbreed champion at Otley, North Yorkshire County, Aldborough and Boroughbridge and Cleveland shows.

The trophy for the Champion Pig was awarded to Charlotte Holding and Tricia Horsley of Avenue Farm, Acaster near Selby for their January-born homebred Large White boar, and their Saddleback gilt qualified for the British Saddleback Champion of Champions competition by winning its breed class.

Reserve pig champion was Jodie and Stuart Roberts’ March-born Pietrain.

Best goat in the show was Warthill-based Debbie Smith’s and her son Jake’s 18-month-old homebred pygmy goat, Felicity. The Smith family breed and sell goats into petting farms, including Piglets Adventure Farm near Strensall.

Ryedale also sees one champion animal from across the horse, cattle and sheep sections named its Champion of Champions.

It fell to this year’s joint show presidents, Doreen and William Curtis who farm 250 acres at Keldholme, to judge the Coronation Cup, which was first reintroduced to the show after a long absence to mark’s last year’s 150th event, and they chose Harryman and Warriner’s Limousin, Jimmy - the champion commercial beef beast - as their winner.

Mr and Mrs Curtis, who have long served show organisers, the Ryedale and Pickering Lyth Agricultural Society, as council member and produce section steward respectively, said the day had been “such fun”.

Mr Curtis’ parents, William and Marjorie, served as joint show presidents in the late 1980s.

Mr Curtis said: “It’s a special occasion to carry on that tradition - we are very proud. We’ve been involved when our children were involved in showing and now our grandchildren show here.”

A special award was given to Geoff Todd, who has worked for the National Farmers’ Union locally for 32 years. He received The Annual Agricultural Award for outstanding service to the agricultural industry.

Assessing the mood in farming after Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s first keynote speech about agriculture last week, Mr Todd said: “He made his statement saying how important agriculture is but we want to know what he wants us to do and how he wants us to do it.”

Amid the uncertainty, the North York Moors National Park is leading a new project, using a grant of around £400,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to pay farmers for conservation work along the River Rye. A meeting in Helmsley to gauge interest attracted 100 farmers.

Paul Jackson, manager of the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said: “I think people are looking round at what their other mechanisms will be for supporting their business.”