Outstanding Entries for Northumberland County Show

Outstanding Entries for Northumberland County Show

Organisers are counting down to next week’s County Show, held on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May at Bywell near Stocksfield. With all classes closed to entries and the catalogues for each section at print there has been time to evaluate how successful the call for competitors has been this year.

In March we reported about the Chief Sheep Steward, Robert Raine, whose flock narrowly escaped injury after protesters cut guide- ropes securing a wind mast that came crashing down in high winds at his farm at East Woodburn. He called on sheep farmers to put their best foot forward, and, despite one of the most appalling lambing seasons in living history, saying, “We are a resilient bunch of people who still want to celebrate the quality of our stock, and show off what we can achieve in adversity.”

And his predictions have come true as the Sheep Section is showing a superb number of entries. Robert says, “Even the Blackies, which we were afraid would have a poor turnout, have attracted four new entrants who are bringing some of their finest animals.”

And the cattle classes are showing numbers of entries equivalent to those of 2011, with particularly high numbers of competitors in the Hereford Section. Di Harrison, Cattle Secretary, explains, “We are delighted that this has been such a popular section as the Hereford classes were only introduced last year.” The only disappointing area is the Dairy Section.

David Carr, Chief Cattle Steward said, “We think this is more due to the sorry state of the dairy industry nationwide, rather than the popularity of the County Show. The figures for the Beef Section are very encouraging.”

Classes for Young Handlers have been equally popular. The Young Sheep Handlers Competition launched this year, and already has seen excellent support from junior shepherds across the region. The Young Beef Cattle Handlers Section is split into two age groups, 8 – 14 year olds and 15 – 21 year olds following its debut last year, and boasts twelve entrants for this year’s competition.

The Equine Section is delighted by the positive response, with some classes having to be split to accommodate the number of competitors. The Show did reopen its doors to BSJA Show Jumping Classes following an overwhelming demand for places. Organisers will allow entrants who are already registered to compete in other classes on the day.

This is a story repeated across all sections. Poultry entries are up nearly 10% on last year, with 405 birds, 102 egg entries and 25 ducks coming to the show.

Alpacas have a record number of entries. 104 animals are expected to turn up for judging, with both the Huacaya (pronounced Wha-ky-ya) and Suri breeds represented. The Huacayas are more common in the region, and have soft, tight, fluffy coats that make them look like teddy bears. The rarer Suris sport long twisted dreadlocks, not dissimilar from Magic Roundabout’s Dougal dog.

And the Kennel Club Dog Show is anticipating nearly 800 pedigree dogs to take part this prestigious show. Mrs Joy Cunningham of Prudhoe, who runs the Dog Show, told us, “The Border Terriers are always well supported in the region, and over 40 of the best examples of the breed are competing on Monday.”

With Competitive Home Crafts, Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, Sheep Shearing, Stick Dressing, goats, rabbits and cavies all showing strong entries, it promises to be a superb show.

There are lots of new events and attractions at this year’s show. To find out what will be happening, you can buy a Show Guide for £2 from the Show Office, Tourist Information Centres and various retail outlets. There are also individual Class Guides, detailing who is competing in each Section, available for £1 on the day.

There are big discounts on advance tickets. See the show’s website for details www.northcountyshow.co.uk.