Record crowds help make show one to remember

Matthew Lorimer at Ballymoney Show on Saturday
Matthew Lorimer at Ballymoney Show on Saturday
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Heavy, intermittent rain and leaden skies failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the many visitors who turned out to enjoy the sights and sounds of Ballymoney Show at the weekend.

“We had record crowds on the Friday evening,” show society chairman Gary Thompson told the News Letter.

“And this was followed on Saturday by a tremendous entry of animals in all our show classes. Dairy cattle and sheep numbers were well up on previous years while beef cattle entries were on a par with what we would normally expect.

Mr Thompson added: “Members of the Kilraughts, Envoy and Moycraig clubs join forces ever year to make the show happen.

“In so doing, we all work closely with the North Antrim Agricultural Association, which represents all of the main farming and food organisations in the Ballymoney area.

“This is my second and final year as Ballymoney Show chairman. As a young farmer, I have found the experience of working with the other members of the event organising committee a very worthwhile and rewarding experience.”

Meanwhile, out in the show rings, it was business as usual.

One of the most interesting developments to arise from the myriad competitions schedules is the fact that different judges can view the one animal in different ways.

At the end of a long day the Inter Breed Beef Championship was won by a three-quarter bred Limousin heifer, exhibited by Jack Smyth from Newtownstewart in Co Tyrone.

Significantly, the animal was judged second in her class to the Supreme Champion from the previous week’s Ballymena Show, a British Blue cross heifer shown by Moneymore man Robert Miller.

However, when it came to the judging of the Inter Breed competition, the placings were reversed.

So beauty really is in the eye of the beholder!

The McLean family – from nearby Bushmills – had another tremendously successful day on Saturday.

Following their excellent showing at Ballymena the previous week they carried the field in the cattle section at Ballymoney, winning the Supreme and the Dairy Inter Breed championships.

The victorious animal was Priestland 4951 Shot Bedazzle, a home bred Holstein cow which calved for the second time back in February.

And for good measure, the McLeans also won the Coloured Breeds’ Dairy Championship with an excellent young Jersey cow.

“We have had a tremendous couple of weeks,” Iain McLean explained.

“Our aim is to have Bedazzle fit and well for the Northern Ireland Shows’ Association final, which takes place at Antrim in late July.”

There was a tremendous turnout of Suffolks at Ballymoney on Saturday past.

So it came as no surprise that the breed took the main silverware when it came to sorting out the Sheep Inter Breed Championship, which was awarded to the Watson family from Rasharkin in Co Antrim.

* See Farming Life on Saturday or the Farming Life website from Monday for full results.