Preparations have been underway at the Great Yorkshire Showground as England’s premier agricultural event gets set to open this morning.
The 164th Great Yorkshire Show begins four days of agricultural excellence, spectacular entertainment, the chance to see thousands of animals, and a breathtaking number of businesses selling everything from cheese to combine harvesters.
The Show is already a sell out and VIP guests include HRH The Duke of Gloucester on the first day.
Charles Mills, show director said: “There is an amazing buzz of excitement around the showground in the hours before we open the gates. It’s very much a team effort as we all work to make it a superb experience for our thousands of visitors. The Great Yorkshire showcases the finest of British agriculture and the latest in farming technology but it’s also a unique social occasion and brings together town and country and young and old to enjoy a terrific day out.”
Rookie models Lizzie McLaughlin and Luke Johnson took time out from their catwalk rehearsals to check out the impressive 9700 John Deere Forager taking pride of place on the showground's President's Lawn. “From Sheep to Chic” fashion shows will take place every day at 12:30 on the Sheep Shearing Stage, kindly sponsored by Brook Taverner.
Lizzie, who lives in Pontefract, is a marketeer and podcaster. She joined the agricultural world via the poultry sector, four years ago. Luke, from Skipton, is no stranger to high tech farm machinery as he owns and runs an agricultural and plant services business. An annual visitor to the Great Yorkshire Show, he has fond memories of attending it as a child with his grandfather. The Forager is kindly provided by Ripon Farm Services.
At the heart of the showground is the Main Ring where each day the incredible equestrian dynamo, Lorenzo demonstrates his impressive horsemanship. In contrast, Sporting Soprano Lizzie Jones makes a welcome return and will be performing twice a day. In addition, the programme includes top class showjumping, the Grand Cattle Parade, and musical excellence from The Yorkshire Volunteers Band.
In the livestock sections, farming families are making final preparations and there is extra prestige at stake for those involved in the national cattle breed competitions at the Show.
The Beef Shorthorn, Longhorn and Charolais national competitions are all being hosted at the Show this year.
More than 100 Shorthorns are taking part in the cattle classes, including five-year-old bull Coldrochie Leif, last year’s senior Shorthorn champion. Coldrochie Leif is one of three Shorthorns being readied by Mark and Tracy Severn of Barkisland, Halifax. First generation farmers, Mark and Tracy run 55 pedigree Shorthorns over 100 acres, and they also won the Blythewood Pairs competition at last year’s Show.
Mark, who has been coming to the Show for 15 years, said: “For a Yorkshire person coming to the Great Yorkshire Show, it’s special, and with the national Shorthorn show, it’s even better.”
Lining up for the Charolais national competition will be Gloucestershire’s Richard Hassell and Rachael Wylie’s Skysea Serenade, a two-year-old in-calf Charolais heifer. Herdsman Richard Rettie who looks after their herd in Falkirk and handler Emyr Owen from North Wales are making final preparations ahead of the competition.
Rachael, who has been exhibiting at the Great Yorkshire Show for 50 years and won the national Charolais competition with Yorkshire-bred Bassett Nadice four years ago, said: “The Great Yorkshire Show is where we come to let our hair down, where the public are interested, and I get more agricultural business done here than at all the other shows put together.”
Easingwold-based outfit Longbridge Longhorns is competing in the Longhorn classes with eight-year-old heifer Treverton Promise and two-month-old calf Longbridge Xcuses making their Great Yorkshire Show debuts.
Graham Walker and Alisha Lack, manager and worker for Longbridge Longhorns, have brought 12 cattle from three different herds to the Show. Graham has enjoyed success at the Show previously, having won the Longhorn championships in 2009 with Newton Storm.
Famous farming faces from the world of TV can be found on The Vertu Motors GYS Stage where Matt Baker MBE, Peter Wright of The Yorkshire Vet and TV presenter Adam Henson are all appearing in chat shows hosted by TV’s and Yorkshire Businesswoman member Christine Talbot.
Over in forestry, the Great Yorkshire Show Pole Climbing Championships are back and will be turning heads skywards as competitors race against the clock up the two new 100ft Douglas Fir poles.
Food is always an integral part of the event, so check out the Cheese and Dairy Show, the Hives and Honey section and the many businesses selling everything from chutney to cakes to coffee. Prestigious chefs, including award winners Andrew Pern and Adam Jackson,will be making mouths water in the Game Cookery Theatre whilst the work of 14 of Yorkshire’s best artists is featured in the Art Show.
Yorkshire Businesswoman members will also enjoy the show on Friday as they are holding their monthly networking there from 3pm with an afternoon tea.